Westwood hits front in Denmark but laughs off Ryder Cup talk

Lee Westwood and girlfriend Sarah Storey

Made in Denmark third-round leaderboard
-16 L Westwood (Eng); -15 T Detry (Bel), J Thomson (Eng), S Brown (Eng); -14 M Wallace (Eng); -12 C Bezuidenhout (SA) C Shinkwin (Eng);
Selected others: -10 M Baldwin, M Fitzpatrick (both Eng); -9 R Rock, M Southgate, A Chesters (all Eng); -7 T Pieters (Bel), T Olesen (Den); -3 E Pepperell (Eng)
Full leaderboard (external)

England’s Lee Westwood laughed off his chances of being a European Ryder Cup wildcard pick after taking a one-shot lead in the last qualifying tournament.

Westwood hit seven birdies and a double-bogey at the last at the Made in Denmark event in a five-under 67.

Compatriots Jonathan Thomson and Steven Brown and Belgium’s Thomas Detry are one back on 15 under after round three.

Sheffield’s Matthew Fitzpatrick still has an outside chance of retaining his place in Europe’s team after a 66.

Fitzpatrick is six shots off the lead on 10 under.

The 24-year-old needs to win to have a chance of dislodging Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, who occupies the only automatic qualifying place still up for grabs and can make certain of a Ryder Cup debut with a top-six finish.

Olesen, who made the halfway cut with nothing to spare, is nine shots off the lead after a 67.

England’s Eddie Pepperell could also qualify with a victory but he carded a 74 to sit at three under.

Asked about the possibility of winning his 24th European Tour title on Sunday to earn a wildcard from European captain Thomas Bjorn, Westwood – who is one of Bjorn’s five vice-captains – said: “He doesn’t want an old man like me playing, he wants the young kids in.

“I’ve played 10 and I know when my game is really on song ready for the Ryder Cup and I think there’s more people valuing a pick than me.”

Westwood, whose round was spoiled when he found water off the tee on the last, added: “I played great all day. I made one bad swing off the 18th tee but it would be stupid to focus on that as well as I played.

“I had it under control all day and stood over the ball, the wind just puffed up a little bit and I leant on it instead of just swinging past myself and it squirted out right.”

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