By Matt Smith
DUBAI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - England's Lee Westwood struck a seven-under-par 65 in the third round of the $8-million DP World Tour Championship on Saturday to give the former world number one a fighting chance of claiming his first European title of 2013.
The 40-year-old, who has managed just one top-10 finish on the PGA and European Tours since June, made five birdies on the front nine and picked up further shots on the 10th and 11th.
But his charge stalled with a bogey on the 12th and he made par on the remaining holes except for a last birdie on 15 to put him on aggregate 11-under par 205.
"I got in my own way a little bit on the back nine, I could have 10-under conceivably, but 65 puts me in with a better chance than when I went off this morning," said Westwood.
"I didn't mind bogeying the 12th, that's a difficult hole, but I hit it close on the 13th and the 16th and missed both."
The world number 23 is among a clutch of British players ruing a disappointing season, with Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald - who are both former world number ones - also winless.
"I've not been playing very well. I've not been hitting it close and not been making anything," said Westwood.
He said his swing has not been "in sync" all year.
"I've been fumbling my way around the golf course, it's something I'm going to work on in the winter," he said.
Westwood, 22 times a winner on the tour, had been a little-noticed figure on the Greg Norman-designed Earth course this week.
He was not in contention to win the Race to Dubai, formerly the European Order of Merit, or among the early pacesetters at the season-ending finale having shot two-under-par 70s in his first two rounds.
"I can build on the momentum that this week has given me," said Westwood.
"I made a good par on the first and then rattled off a few birdies in a row, hitting it close, rolling a few putts in, that 5-10-foot range that I've been missing on the first two days and that got me some momentum." (Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Toby Davis)