Lee Westwood plots late charge for Dubai


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The Independent Online

Lee Westwood has been conspicuous by his absence on the European Tour this year, but with just four events of the season left he still has ambitions of finishing 2013 as Europe's leading player.

The former world No 1 has played virtually full-time in the United States since moving his family to Florida in January and has managed to play just nine events on his "home" tour, six of which (three majors, three WGCs) were contested on American soil.

That said, Westwood has arrived in Shanghai for the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren this week determined to make up for lost time. He lies 18th in the standings for the Race to Dubai and knows that he needs to win at least once, preferably twice, in the next three weeks to have any chance of overhauling Henrik Stenson, the runaway Swede at the top of the pack.

Westwood will get his challenge under way with back-to-back events in Shanghai – the BMW Masters, beginning on Thursday, and the HSBC Champions tournament next week – before moving on to the Turkish Open. His aim, he says, is to turn up at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month in a position to mount a sustained attack.

"I'm surprised that I can still win the Race to Dubai," Westwood admitted. "I've only played nine events before this week and it has been a season when I have yet to win and have had a best finish of third.

"I've played consistently throughout the year, but the biggest disappointment this year was not winning the Open – or the PGA Championship come to that – as I had a great chance going out in the last group [at Muirfield].

"The fact that I still have a chance to win the money list is something to strive for over these next four events," he added.

"I had a strong finish in 2009 when I last won and it's possible this year. If I win a couple of these last events I can make up a lot of ground."