Westwood may be forced to ditch new putter

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The Independent Online

Lee Westwood must consider whether to ditch his new putter for The Masters after what he termed "an atrocious week on the greens". The world No 2 will take great hope from his performance tee to green at the Houston Open, but realises his chances of a first major will be doomed if he fails to rectify his short game.

A four-under 68 seemed anything but disastrous as it hauled the Englishman to six-under for what would in normal circumstances be a satisfactory workout. But Westwood was far from satisfied after hitting 12 out of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. "It was really 17 out of 18 as I was on two fringes, one of which I holed," he said. "This should have been a 61 or 62 basically. I missed four or five putts inside 10 feet. They ought to be gimmes on this quality of green."

Westwood only put the putter in the bag last week after two years with the last model, which helped him to two runner-up finishes in the majors, as well as two third places. It was not a radical change as it was essentially the same type of Ping putter, only differing to assist him with alignment problems. But still the question will be asked whether he should revert to the old version.

The 37-year-old flew over to Augusta last night and at least had the victory of a friend to celebrate. David Horsey, also in the ISM stable, prevailed in the play-off of the Hassan Trophy in Agadir, Morocco eventually seeing off the defending champion Rhys Davies and the South African Jaco Van Zyl.

The Mancunian – who holed in one on the second – looked certain to have blown his second European Tour title when coming to the final hole with a one-shot advantage and then taking a double-bogey. But despite his reputation as one of the game's finest putting exponents, Davies missed a four footer for the win, meaning the trio went into a sudden death shootout.

Horsey eventually emerged the strongest but admitted to being "relieved more anything". "I couldn't believe Rhys missed that putt to win to be honest," said Horsey, who leaps in the world's top 80. "If we had been playing match play I would have given him that putt because he is one of the best putters in the world. So to win is a great feeling."

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn earlier signed for a course-record 62 to finish six under for the week. "I played well – even with a bogey and a three-putt," said the former Ryder Cup player.