Updated: Saturday, 19 April 2014 18:27 | By Agence France-Presse

Westwood wilts but maintains lead in Malaysian Open

Lee Westwood survived high temperatures and fierce competition from compatriot Andy Sullivan to cling onto the lead in the Malaysian Open on Saturday by a single-stroke.

Westwood wilts but maintains lead in Malaysian Open

Lee Westwood of England hits the ball out of a bunker on the fourteenth hole during the third round of the Maybank Malaysian Open golf tournament in Kuala Lumpur on April 19, 2014 - by Manan Vatsyayana

The Englishman, who boasts an impressive 12 career wins in Asia, started the day strongly but bogeyed his final hole in third-round play, allowing Sullivan to close in from six strokes behind overnight.

Coming off a seventh place finish at last week's Masters in the United States, Westwood was clearly feeling the effects of the scorching temperatures at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

"It was tricky out there. I didn’t play as well as I did the first two days, but there were some difficult flags and it was really hot," the former world number one said. 

"That's as hot as I’ve been on a golf course for quite some time. It was a real grind."

He had launched off with a 20-foot birdie before being stifled with a bogey on the second but notched another two birdies by the 11th.

However, the Englishman scored a bogey on the final hole, finishing one-under at 71.

Sullivan steamed into second place by carding the day’s best score of 66.

The 226th ranked Englishman, who idolises Westwood, was in phenomenal form with seven birdies for the day, including three in a row on the front nine.

"I only made one mistake but I got it back straight away. I’m delighted with the way I finished," said Sullivan, who is seeking a maiden European Tour title. 

Frenchman Julien Quesne trails Sullivan by three strokes, with Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium lurking a stroke behind after carding a 72 to join the chasing pack.

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen managed a three-under 69, but that still leaves the South African seven strokes off the pace.

This year's $2.75 million tournament, jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, is certain to witness a new winner after Thailand's defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat pulled out earlier in the day due to inflamed tonsils.

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