Beaten Westwood takes heart
Lee Westwood is determined to use his latest near miss in Paris as a positive step towards his bid for Open glory.
Lee Westwood is determined to use his latest near miss as a springboard to greater things – hopefully, of course, at next week’s Open Championship.
The Ryder Cup star still has not won since the British Masters in September 2007, but he could not have gone closer or played much better on the final day of the French Open at Le Golf National near Paris on Sunday.
A joint best-of-the-day 65 put Westwood into a play-off with Martin Kaymer, but the rising German star won it with a par at the first extra hole.
It might so easily have gone the other way, though.
“Martin’s ball has carried the water by a foot and mine must have gone in by a foot,” said the former European number one, who has now suffered three play-off defeats since his last success. He was pushed into second by Kaymer in Abu Dhabi 18 months ago and was only one shot away from last year’s US Open play-off between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate.
“That’s the chance you take in play-offs. You can’t judge the week by that and I certainly can’t be disappointed by anything after the way I played.
“It is a good time to start playing well. There are massive tournaments at this time of year – we have two huge weeks coming up (the Scottish Open followed by the Open), then a couple of weeks off and then two big ones in America as well.
“I played well at this time of year last year and it looks like I am going to be able to do that again, so hopefully I can get a win soon.”
A putting tip from caddie Billy Foster helped him to seven birdies on Sunday, but he is going to have to do without the Yorkshireman at Loch Lomond.
Foster is doing a 90-mile charity walk from there to Turnberry, but after Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, a good friend and stablemate, had been mentioned as a possible replacement for the week now that he is retired it will instead be Padraig Harrington’s former caddie Dave McNeilly on the bag.
Westwood’s odds for the Open are bound to come tumbling down after his performance – and so will those of 24-year-old Kaymer, who is back in the world’s top 20 with his third Tour victory.
He closed with a 68 to match Westwood’s 13-under-par total and they finished three clear of third-placed Ian Poulter, furious with a photographer whom he blamed for hitting into the water on the 15th but delighted with his form too.
Kaymer, who began the week with a course record-equalling 62, said he “definitely” considers himself ready to win a major.
“I really feel that this week is similar to a major,” he stated.
“It’s a big event, great field, lots of money and world ranking points. If you can win here you can do well in the Open too.”
First prize was more than £565,000 – Westwood won over £376,000 and Poulter £212,235 – and Kaymer is now fifth on Europe’s “Race To Dubai” money list.
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