Westwood aims to build on Open success

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The Independent Online

Five years ago, Lee Westwood believed he needed to take his game to another level to become a major contender. After a grandstand finish yesterday that earned him a personal-best fourth place in the Open - and the highest finish of any Briton or indeed European here this year - he said he had realised there is no next level.

Five years ago, Lee Westwood believed he needed to take his game to another level to become a major contender. After a grandstand finish yesterday that earned him a personal-best fourth place in the Open - and the highest finish of any Briton or indeed European here this year - he said he had realised there is no next level.

"It's just doing the right things here and there and fine-tuning your game [that makes the difference]," he said. "I know my game is good enough to win a major. It's just a question of giving myself the opportunity. I was not quite close enough today to put the pressure on the players at the top of the leaderboard."

Had he played last Thursday and Friday like he played yesterday, when he made a 67 to follow Saturday's 68, the pressure would have been elsewhere, not on him. Yesterday he made a hat-trick of birdies on the 6th, 7th and 8th and three more on the back nine. A 20-foot putt for par on the 17th and then a 40-foot birdie putt on the last exemplified the assurance of his game, albeit after a shaky start that saw bogeys on the 3rd and 5th.

"I got off to a terrible start just as I did the first three days and that probably cost me the tournament," he said. "From the sixth onwards I was brilliant.. .I always hoped the work I've been doing was going to pay off and the most pleasing thing is the consistency I've shown over the last three weeks."

The 31-year-old from Worksop was the runner-up in the European Open and 10th in the Scottish Open. Those results and yesterday's indicate his slump of two years ago, when he fell outside the world's top 250, is over.

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