Westy’s new aim – erase the scars
Lee Westwood will play at Wentworth next week determind to show that recent disappointments have not left lasting scars.
Lee Westwood will be back in action at Wentworth next week determind to shrug away his two recent disappointments and show that no lasting scars have been left.
Westwood has led the two biggest tournaments of the year so far after both 36 and 54 holes, but has not been able to convert either into his first victory in America for 12 years.
At The Masters he shot 71 and finished in second place three behind Phil Mickelson, while at The Players Championship yesterday he shot 74 and ended up in joint fourth spot, four behind first-time PGA Tour winnerTim Clark.
Sawgrass did not mean as much to Westwood as Augusta because it was not a major, but the fact that when the heat was on, he found only six of the 14 fairways and eight of the 18 greens he was aiming for, is something that should trouble Europe’s number one – especially as it came only a week after stablemate Rory McIlroy shot 62 to win at Quail Hollow.
Even with a missed cut in Florida the 21-year-old still has the bragging rights.
“I’m disappointed, but it’s not something I’m going to pull my hair out over,” said Westwood.
“If you don’t play well you don’t deserve to win and I just didn’t play well over the weekend.
“As the course got harder you really needed to be on your game and
I wasn’t striking the ball solidly enough.
“You needed to hit more fairways, have more control of the ball and I just didn’t have that.
“It all needs fine-tuning. I’ll keep working on things, just trying to get a bit better for next time.”
Going in the water with a wedge and double-bogeying the short 17th when in fact he needed to birdie the last two holes to force a play-off meant Westwood missed out on going to world number three for the first time.
With Steve Stricker currently out injured, he ought to be able to get there next week, although having said that the Worksop golfer’s record at Wentworth is dire – seven times in the last nine years he has failed to make the cut and on the other two occasions he was outside the top 10.
In terms of priorities, however, next month’s United States Open at Pebble Beach is top of the list, as it is, of course, for Clark now that he has achieved his first victory on American soil after 12 years of trying.
In that time the 2005 Scottish Open champion had earned nearly USD 15million and registered eight second places.
After all that he would have taken winning ugly on Sunday, but instead he came up with a best-of-the-day 67 featuring five birdies in six holes around the turn and a closing eight-foot par putt that edged out Australian Robert Allenby.
“That’s as good as I could have played,” said Clark, who had been seven behind at halfway. “I felt like I hit every shot I wanted to.
“Obviously I’m over the moon, but it doesn’t mean everyone is going to want to talk to me – I’m just another guy with a win!”
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