Casey, Dredge top leaderboard in Qatar

Paul Casey drives the ball to the 18th hole during the third round of the Qatar Masters.

Paul Casey drives the ball to the 18th hole during the third round of the Qatar Masters.

DOHA, Qatar – Paul Casey shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to share the lead with Bradley Dredge after the third round of the Qatar Masters.

The 32-year-old Casey arrived in Doha still feeling the effects of a lingering rib muscle injury and having missed the cut in each of his three previous appearances at the tournament. But he made seven birdies to sit tied with Dredge (70) with a 10-under total of 206.

“I am still only 95 percent fit with the rib and had no reason to be confident arriving here given my previous record on this course,” Casey said. “But I am playing well now on a tough course where you cannot afford to make mistakes.”

Dredge is looking for his first title since the 2006 European Masters, and is hoping to make an early case for inclusion on the European Ryder Cup team.

“Coming from Wales and with the Ryder Cup being played at Celtic Manor, making the team is my big goal for this year,” Dredge said. “There are a lot of world ranking points available this week and I could do with them. I will be looking for a big finish.”

The duo will be chased by Lee Westwood in the final round, after the Englishman shot a 70 to stay one shot off the lead – despite cracking the head of his driver on the 11th tee. Under the rules, he was not allowed to have a replacement brought to him on the course.

“The shaft felt soft,” Westwood said about the spare driver in his bag. “It affected my rhythm and it happened at a critical stage of the round. If I could have made a couple of birdies over the closing holes I might have had a two-shot lead.”

Brett Rumford, who had the overnight lead, only managed a 73 to sit three shots back. He started the day by holing a 6-foot putt for birdie, then dropped two shots on his next five holes and kept struggling on the greens.

Robert Karlsson is also in a tie for fourth, while Oliver Wilson (72) and Alvaro Quiros (68) are another shot back.

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