As Lee Westwood set off to complete his second round of the Indonesian Masters this morning the world No 1 crown was in tantalising focus. He was tied for the lead yesterday when lightning provided what British golf will hope was only a pause in his charge.
It was not only the patriotic who would have been happy with his efforts. The traditionalists would have been delighted to see he was using a conventional putter again after playing his last three competitive rounds with the dreaded belly putter. The return to the smaller implement paid instant dividends when he birdied the first four holes.
Westwood made the turn in an impressive 32 before adding birdies on the 12th and the 16th, to a bogey on the 13th. He was five-under for his round and nine-under on the leaderboard, which saw him level with Shaaban Hussin and Park Hyun-bin. Westwood loves to be in the position to enforce his game and was clearly frustrated by the storm's intervention.
"Obviously I'm disappointed because I had two more holes to play. I'm still in contention and have to see how things go in the next two days," said Westwood. "I hate not finishing."
If Westwood can win his first title of the year he would leapfrog Martin Kaymer in the rankings. But whether he would reclaim the top position would be all down to a countryman. Luke Donald went out in the second round of The Heritage in South Carolina last night three off the pace, knowing that a victory would see him crowned as No 1 for the first time.
A four-under par 67 had only heightened the anticipation. Donald is a big fan of the Hilton Head course, having finished third and second in the last two years. With nine top 10s from his last 10 appearances, the world No 3 went in as an obvious favourite.
It is a while since Sergio Garcia enjoyed pride of place in the betting market. But the Spaniard who last year took a break after falling out of love with the game as well as out of the world's top 80 gave a reminder of his talent with a second bogey-free round to stay in the hunt at the halfway point of the China Open.
The Spaniard, whose last victory came at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai two years ago, shot a 67 to complement his flawless 66 in the opening round and leave himself two shots behind the Welsh leader Jamie Donaldson. Garcia's brother Victor Jnr is carrying his bag in Chengdu.Reuse content