Westy rues missed chances

Lee Westwood was the picture of frustration after letting slip a golden opportunity to stamp his mark on the 138th Open.

Lee Westwood was the picture of frustration today after letting slip a golden opportunity to stamp his mark on the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry.
The Ryder Cup star got off to a blistering start in ideal calm conditions on the west coast of Scotland, firing a birdie on each of the first three holes and then missing a short putt of no more than six feet to go four under at the fourth.
A bogey at the seventh saw him turn in 33 but he eventually got to four under with birdies at the 11th and 15th only to dump his approach in the burn at the next and take a double-bogey six.
“It’s a fair assumption to say I left a few shots out there,” said the Worksop golfer.
“Any time you birdie the first three holes is obviously a great start, but I had a lot of chances from 15 to 20 feet all day.
“Sixty-eight is probably as bad as it could have been but the first round of a major you can only play your way out of them.
“I probably would have taken that at the start of the day. I’m happy with the way I’m playing and the position I’m in.
“I’m looking at the positives already.”
Westwood was joined on two under by compatriots Anthony Wall and a resurgent David Howell as well as Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
Howell, who has been plagued by back problems, has made the cut in only five of his 15 events this season and his highest finish is joint 37th, but he rediscovered the form which saw him finish seventh at Royal Birkdale 12 months ago.
He went out in a four-under 31 only to double-bogey the short 15th and drop a further stroke at the 17th, salvaging some pride with a birdie at the last.
“That was probably my best round since the final round [at Birkdale] last year,” admitted the 34-year-old Howell said.