Golf: Westwood survives reprimand

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The Independent Online
WITH Lee Westwood there is no beating about the bush. Or, at least, there won't be any more. His grandmother, who has been known to win the odd bet on the 25-year-old from Worksop, has seen to that.

One of Westwood's prime assets is his calm temperament, but he does not quite have a scratch handicap in that department. At Wentworth two weeks ago, he was caught by the TV cameras taking a swipe at a bush. Peter Alliss mentioned it on the commentary and Westwood duly received a reprimand.

"I was just trimming the bush but my grandma told me off," Westwood said. "She told me it wasn't the bush's fault." Yesterday Westwood twice lashed out at the land but a second successive 68 left him at eight under par and only a shot behind Patrik Sjoland and Australia's Stephen Leaney.

National Car Rental may have taken over as the sponsors of the English Open but that hardly represents an endorsement of the Basil Fawlty car- flogging manner of expressing emotions.

Westwood's day did not start well when he drove behind a tree at the 10th and when he found his second shot had come to rest not just in a bunker but one which had not been raked properly.

Having escaped the bunker, but with a bogey about to be recorded on his card, Westwood took aim at the sand. Later, when he had got round to the first, he attempted to drive the green at the dogleg-left, 317-yard hole and found the rough in front of the green.

"That hole is doing my head in," he said. "I still don't know how to play it. Robert Allenby and I were both in the rough and, he had a shot and I didn't because the rough is so inconsistent."

Only able to hack out, Westwood then slammed his club in the ground. "I shouldn't really lose my temper," he admitted. "It does not do me any good. I get frustrated but then I try and calm down, take a couple of deep breaths quickly and just think what an idiot I've been slamming my club into the ground.

"I never really whacked it that hard, I was just tapping my divot back at the first and smoothing the sand at the tenth.''

Granny Westwood, who won pounds 140 when Westwood was victorious in New Orleans in April, is not the only one to have the odd word with the man whose victory in Germany on Monday was his fifth in seven months. His coach Peter Cowen, not having much to say add technically to Westwood's game, keeps emphasising the mental side.

"He just tells me not to lose my temper. He says it's my best quality and when I lose that the rest of my game starts to go. You get frustrated now and again, which is only natural.''

Just ask Colin Montgomerie. The overnight leader quickly fell off the leaderboard when he found the lake at the second hole and took a double bogey seven.

He went to the turn in 39 and, after collecting eight birdies in his 64 on Thursday, had to wait until the 13th for his first yesterday. Two more followed at 16 and 17. The smile was back as he returned to eight under but the course that he had lauded only a day before had responded in a most spiteful way.

"Hopefully the bad round is out of the way,'' he said. "I'm only one behind and that's encouraging. I'm going nowhere. I'm still up there and I'll still be up there on Sunday afternoon.''

Sjoland's had a 67, two outside the day's best from Paul Affleck, to continue the 27-year-old Swede rich vein of form. The Italian Open winner also finished second at the PGA Championship. "I am confident hitting the ball and with my putting which makes it a lot easier," Sjoland said.

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