Westwood in the running
Lee Westwood shot a second round 68 at Redstone to leave him just two strokes off the lead at the Houston Open.
In-form European number one Lee Westwood put some second-round indiscipline at the Shell Houston Open down to over-confidence but insisted it was good to get the wake-up call ahead of the opening major of the year.
With the Masters less than a week away at Augusta National, world number four Westwood is in flying form in Texas after shooting a second round in the 60s at Redstone Golf Club to leave him tied for fourth place and just two strokes off the lead held by American Bryce Molder heading into today’s third round.
As seven birdies and three bogeys might suggest, his second-round, four-under-par 68 was full of highs and lows and Westwood admitted he had lost his focus at times on a breezy Texas day.
“The wind got up a little earlier, and at times out there I was a bit undisciplined,” Westwood said.
“I went for a couple of flags I shouldn’t have gone for. I played over-confident, tried to play a couple of secret shots. I should have just aimed 30 feet left or right of the hole. All in all it was pretty good.
“I could have made two hole in ones in the last three holes on seven, to about 18 inches, must have lipped out and nine, grazed the hole as well. Missed that one. It was a solidish day. Probably 13 greens in there in regulation.
“When I did hit greens, I hit it close. And I’m pleased with the position I’m in for the weekend.”
With the twin objectives of landing a first victory on US soil since 1998 and landing his first major championship, Westwood agreed that being over-confident beat any alternative.
“Yeah. It’s good to be overconfident,” he said.
“You should be confident and disciplined. This is the kind of golf course that requires a lot of discipline. It’s severe if you start, in the wrong place and missing flags, with the flags in the wrong place, much like a major championship might be. The penalties are there for all to see with lakes and run-offs and traps.
“I like it. It’s a nice golf course. I’ve tackled it fairly well and had a good game plan over the first couple of days, which I intend to stick to.”
Westwood was in a tie for fourth with Americans Anthony Kim, Joe Ogilvie and Kevin Stadler, one behind first-round co-leader Cameron Percy of Australia, who shot a 69, and American Alex Prugh, who joined Percy at eight under following a seven-under 66.
Molder climbed to the top of the leaderboard with a second-round 66.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington also advanced, reaching six under thanks to a second consecutive 69 of the week to put him in a tie for eighth.
Scotland’s Martin Laird reached halfway in the tournament at four under par following his second 70 of the week but England’s Justin Rose carded a level-par 72 to stay at two under.
Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson moved in the other direction, improving from an opening 73 with a 70 to get to one under alongside Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, while Ernie Els’ bid for a third straight win suffered a setback with his 74 leaving him at level for the week, where England’s Simon Dyson also reached after a 71.
World number three Phil Mickelson was another to slide down the leaderboard, frittering away his opening 69 with a four-over 76 but he will at least make it into weekend play at one over, as will Masters champion Angel Cabrera, whose second round 75 left him at two over and right on the cut line ahead of his title defence beginning next Thursday.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (73), Germany’s Martin Kaymer (76) and English duo Chris Wood (75) and Brian Davis (71) were all one stroke the wrong side of the cut mark while a 75 from Luke Donald also sent him packing at four over.
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