Shanghai, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Graeme McDowell fired a 1-under 71 in Saturday's third round and his lead has been cut to one at the WGC - HSBC Champions.
McDowell, who has held the lead at the end of each of the first three rounds, finished 54 holes at 11-under-par 205. McDowell has won 10 times on the European Tour and two times on the PGA Tour in his career. He entered the third round with a 3-shot lead and at one point was up by four on Saturday.
"Moderately pleased," McDowell said following his round. "Hit the ball better than I did yesterday. Iron play was a little more solid. Just tricky, cold, a little overnight rain made this golf course play pretty long. All-in-all very happy to be in control, in the lead going into the final day of a WGC against a world-class field."
Hiroshi Iwata continues to have a successful week as he carded a 4-under 68 to jump into sole possession of second place at 10-under 206. Martin Kaymer (66), the 2014 U.S. Open champion, and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (69) are both tied for third at 9-under 207.
Rickie Fowler and Tim Clark shot matching 69s and they are tied for fifth at minus-8, while Thorbjorn Olesen (69) and 2012 champion Ian Poulter (72) sit at 7-under 209 through 54 holes at Sheshan International Golf Club.
Holding a 3-shot lead through two rounds, McDowell started off strong and then cooled off as the round went on. McDowell opened up with a trio of pars before rolling in his first birdie on the par-3 fourth hole. After another pair of pars, McDowell drained his second birdie on No. 7.
After going bogey-free in round two, McDowell tripped to a bogey on No. 8, ending a stretch of 35 straight holes without a dropped shot. Making the turn with a par on nine, McDowell made his third birdie of the day on No. 10, getting him back to 2-under.
McDowell was cruising with six straight pars from No. 11 before tripping to another bogey on No. 17, dropping him back to 11-under for the week. McDowell closed out with a par on the last to end there.
"No complaints. I enjoyed my round today," said McDowell. "Looking forward to the challenge tomorrow and like I said I'm in good shape ... I have to just go execute my game plan, see where that leaves me come the decision-making holes 14 and 16 and the back nine tomorrow."
Iwata, who shot a week's best 65 in the second round, started off slow on Saturday with a bogey on No. 2. Iwata finished strong on the front nine, however, as he made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 4. He ended the front nine with a pair of pars, making the turn at 2-under.
Like the front nine, Iwata went in the wrong direction to start the back nine with a bogey on 11, but that was his final dropped shot of the day. Iwata finished with birdies on 12, 16 and 18, vaulting him into second place heading into the final day.
Kaymer made four birdies on the front nine and three more on the back nine to go along with a bogey on No. 15.
Watson was up and down all day as he played the front nine at minus-3 with three birdies. A double-bogey on 10 and a bogey on 12 dropped Watson back to even par.
Watson made five straight birdies to finish his round on Friday, and he nearly did the same on Saturday as he made four birdies on the final five from 14 to go along with a bogey on No. 17.
NOTES: After playing the four par-5s at 3-under on Friday, McDowell was just 1-over with a bogey and three pars on those holes Saturday ... Iwata's only start on either the European or PGA Tours this year was at the British Open, where he missed the cut ... FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel has been having a tough week. A 79 on Saturday dropped him back to 20-over 236. Horschel is 75th out of the 76 remaining players in the field.