Maybank Malaysian Open: Lee Westwood up and pumping again with seven-shot win

 

It’s been so long since his last fist pump it is a wonder Lee Westwood remembered how to do it. Twenty-two months to be precise, acceptable for your ordinary pro, less so for a former world No 1 with 39 wins to his name.

Victory No 40 was achieved at the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday by a margin of seven, unprecedented for Westwood, and closed with a birdie that triggered the instinctive “goal” celebration on the 18th green. A closing 68 gave him an 18-under-par aggregate plus a rather big smile. “I’m delighted,” he said. “You have to play really well to win any tournament by seven shots.

“I played really nicely this week and didn’t make many mistakes. My short game was good and tee to green I was solid. I’m pleased with the way I finished it off.”

Westwood led by a shot overnight and had to contend with a four-hour weather delay. It says much about his returning feel and confidence that neither circumstance bothered him. Reunited with his old caddie Billy Foster and under the tutelage of a new coach, Mike Walker, Westwood is reaching a fresh playing peak in the week he turns 41.

It may be too big a step to reach the rankings summit a second time, but that will not prevent him from giving it a go. “There’s no reason why I couldn’t get back up there,” he said. “The difference is that now I’ve got a bit of a short game and I roll a few putts in. If I can keep doing that then there’s no reason why not.”

 

Westwood sensed the blood sugars were rising a fortnight ago in Houston, where he posted a top-20 result. He followed that up at the Masters last week, finishing seventh. It might have been even better had he not dropped three shots in his opening four holes having started the final day just three off the lead.

His performance in Kuala Lumpur was never anything short of commanding, as he dropped only five strokes all week. Westwood loves a bit of humidity, as a record of 13 wins in Asia demonstrates. Few have been as important as this. The move to Florida 16 months ago was supposed to be the platform for greater things, the move that would lead him to that first major championship.

For much of his time on the PGA Tour he has looked to be moving in the opposite direction. This win rewards his courage in upping sticks on the cusp of middle age.

“Last year I gave myself a few chances to win but didn’t quite pull it off,” he said. “I’m pleased that the work I’m doing with Mike Walker has paid off so quickly. I’m starting to get an idea of what he wants me to do and I’m seeing the benefits. I’ve been seeing it on the range, but this week I’ve seen it on the course, and under pressure too.” 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us