Westwood: near miss can be inspiration

The British golfer who comes close to winning the major and then walks away saying he will be so much better for the experience is a familiar, some might suggest depressing figure. Yet there did seem something rather more substantial to Lee Westwood's words here on Sunday evening.

The Englishman failed to make yesterday's US Open play-off by a stroke, but despite the anticlimatic feel of a missed 20-foot putt on the 18th, the 35-year-old was proud of his achievement.

"I went toe to toe with Tiger with half of America cheering for him and shot the same number," said Westwood, after his best finish in a major. "That is not a bad starting point for the next few majors, is it? I needed to be one shot better than him and the next four weeks in the run-up to the Open will be all about trying to find that extra shot from somewhere."

Westwood came here with few expectations and even less practice. Tonsillitis forced him out of the BMW PGA Championship a month ago and he had not played since. "No, I didn't have the greatest preparation and I didn't hit a lot of balls," he said. "So if you had said to me I would have a 20-footer to get into a play-off for the US Open, then I would have been really, really surprised."

The last time he had been in contention down the stretch at a major was way back at the Masters in 1999. Nine years later he again took the lead at the turn, but this time the wobbles he suffered – three bogeys in his next four holes – did not destroy him. "I learnt from the Masters, obviously," he said. "It was the ultimate test, playing in the last group of the US Open with Tiger Woods, and I thought I came through OK. I enjoyed it. I didn't get carried away thinking about what could happen. I tried to hang in there and give myself a chance. Which I did do."

Alas, he could not take it. In truth, Westwood did not hole many long putts all week. If he had, Europe would have a first US Open winner in 38 years.

Fourth-round scores

US unless stated

283

T Woods 72 68 70 73; R Mediate 69 71 72 71 (18 hole play-off).

284

L Westwood (Eng) 70 71 70 73.

286

R Karlsson (Swe) 70 70 75 71; D J Trahan 72 69 73 72.

287

J Merrick 73 72 71 71; M A Jimenez (Sp) 75 66 74 72; C Pettersson (Swe) 71 71 77 68.

288 E Axley 69 79 71 69; G Ogilvy (Aus) 69 73 72 74; C Villegas (Col) 73 71 71 73; B Snedeker 76 73 68 71; H Slocum 75 74 74 65.

289 R Pampling (Aus) 74 70 75 70; E Els (SA) 70 72 74 73; R Goosen (SA) 76 69 77 67; S Cink 72 73 77 67.

290 P Mickelson 71 75 76 68; H Mahan 72 74 69 75; C Campbell 77 72 71 70; S Garcia (Sp) 76 70 70 74; R Allenby (Aus) 70 72 73 75; M Weir (Can) 73 74 69 74; R Imada (Japan) 74 75 70 71; B Jobe 73 75 69 73.

291 A Kim 74 75 70 72; A Scott (Aus) 73 73 75 70; B Weekley 73 76 70 72.

292 A Baddeley (Aus) 74 73 71 74; P Sheehan 71 74 74 73; S Stricker 73 76 71 72; M Thompson 74 73 73 72; B Bryant 75 70 78 69; J Quinney 79 70 70 73; S Verplank 72 72 74 74.

293 P Perez 75 73 75 70; O Wilson (GB) 72 71 74 76; R Dinwiddie (GB) 73 71 75 74; J Ogilvie 71 76 73 73; A Romero (Arg) 71 73 77 72; T Hamilton 74 74 73 72; J Mills (Can) 72 75 75 71; D Chopra (Swe) 73 75 75 70; J Leonard 75 72 75 71; J Furyk 74 71 73 75; S Appleby (Aus) 69 70 79 75; P Harrington (Irl) 78 67 77 71.

294 D Johnson 74 72 75 73; J Rollins 75 68 79 72; J Lyle (Aus) 75 74 74 71; M Kuchar 73 73 76 72; T Clark (SA) 73 72 74 75.

295 B Crane 75 72 77 71; D Love III 72 69 76 78; S Hansen (Den) 78 70 76 71; M Kaymer (Ger) 75 70 73 77; K Streelman 68 77 78 72.

296 R Sabbatini (SA) 73 72 75 76; S Ames (Can) 74 74 77 71.

297 N Watney 73 75 77 72; B Quigley 73 72 77 75; D Toms 76 72 72 77; A Forsyth (Sco) 76 73 74 74; R Fowler 70 79 76 72.

298 P Casey (GB) 79 70 76 73; V Singh (Fiji) 71 78 76 73; T Immelman (SA) 75 73 72 78; J Mallinger 73 75 78 72.

299 D A Points 74 71 77 77; D Fathauer 73 73 78 75.

300 W Austin 72 72 77 79; A Dresser 76 73 79 72; A Svoboda 77 71 74 78.

301 J Hicks 68 80 75 78; I Leggatt (Can) 72 76 76 77; J Parnevik (Swe) 77 72 77 75.

303 R McGowan (GB) 76 72 78 77.

304 C Kirk 75 74 78 77; R Beem 74 74 80 76.

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