Westwood pleased but ‘surprised’ by strong start at top

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The Independent Online

Lee Westwood will resist the temptation to tinker with his game as he heads into the weekend at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai with an excellent chance to cement his position as world No 1.

Westwood, who dislodged Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings on Monday, carded a two-under-par 70 in his second round at Sheshan International Golf Club to stay one stroke behind leader Francesco Molinari on eight under par at the WGC event.

His performance is all the more remarkable given his recent lay-off with calf and ankle injuries. But despite surprising himself on his return to competitive action, Westwood, 37, stressed he would not be altering his approach. He said: "I'm going to try and adopt the same attitude over the last two days as I did the first two, go out there and still just try and enjoy myself. I know which parts of my game could be improved but everything's pretty competitive and it's a good performance to come back to. I'm pleasantly surprised."

Molinari followed up his opening 65 with a 70. Three birdies in his first seven holes suggested the Italian was well on his way to establishing a comfortable lead, but he was pegged back by bogeys at the ninth and 12th, although he did recover to pick up a shot at the 14th.

Ernie Els produced the best round of the day as a 65 saw the South African race into a share of third on seven under par. He was joined by compatriot Jaco van Zyl, who covered his back nine in 29 to card a 66. Woods added a 72 to his opening 68 to remain four under par, five shots behind Molinari.