Westwood: Bad week, good score
European number one Lee Westwood finally kick-started his season in Qatar yesterday with a frustrating third-place finish.
European number one Lee Westwood finally kick-started his season in Qatar on Sunday with a frustrating third-place finish.
The world number four saw his Commercialbank Qatar Masters challenge undermined after being forced to use a new driver for the final round. He also had new irons shipped out after missing the cut on his seasonal debut in Abu Dhabi.
But, after spending six weeks off following last year’s outstanding but energy-sapping season, a tie for third place in Doha behind the brilliant Robert Karlsson represented an early-season bonus.
“These three weeks are really pre-season training for the rest of the year. I’m giving 100% but, at the end of the day, last week I was very rusty and this week nothing else could go wrong,” said the 36-year-old.
“I’ve been doing a lot of gym work, which I would like to do at this time of year to get strong for the majors. Majors are what I’m basing my year around now so I am pleased with the way the year has started.”
On a sun-drenched final day at Doha Golf Club, Westwood had the bit firmly between his teeth, with four birdies in five holes after the turn thrusting him into a two-way battle with playing partner Karlsson.
But, with his new driver – needed after cracking the face of his old club during Saturday’s second round – steadily increasing his frustration, Westwood three-putted with two holes to play to ease the pressure on Karlsson, the Swede holding a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
Westwood’s frustration continued to grow as he narrowly missed a long birdie chance at the 17th before Karlsson rolled home to claim a three-stroke lead heading up the last.
Former European number one Karlsson went on to post a second consecutive birdie to claim a first victory since the 2008 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by three shots from Alvaro Quiros, while Westwood was forced to settle for third a shot further back alongside Brett Rumford.
It did represent a 12th top-10 finish in his last 15 events stretching back to July’s French Open and sets Westwood up for this week’s Dubai Desert Classic.
“It’s hard to imagine anything else going wrong this week, so 11 under is an unbelievable score,” he added.
“I had to play virtually all the back nine with a three wood. You can’t play this course out of the rough and when I pulled the driver out it went in the left rough. And it is tough to play it with a three wood because it’s such a long course.
“Long, straight driving is one of my strengths and, if you take someone’s strengths away from them, it is going to be very difficult to compete.”
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