Westwood shines to close on Otto

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The Independent Online

Lee Westwood produced one of his best recent displays to finish in a five-way share of second place on the opening day of the Belgacom Open yesterday.

Lee Westwood produced one of his best recent displays to finish in a five-way share of second place on the opening day of the Belgacom Open yesterday.

Westwood recorded a six-under-par 65 on the Royal Zoute course, just one stroke behind the South African leader, Henni Otto.

Joining the 1998 champion Westwood in second place were Ireland's Padraig Harrington, New Zealand's Stephen Scahill, the Frenchman Marc Farry and Sweden's Ollie Karlsson.

Otto has been working with the Belgian sports psychologist, Jos Vanstiphout - a regular on the Tour - who also works with the likes of Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

Westwood's display was his lowest round since an opening score of 63 on the first day of August's Volvo Scandinavian Masters - an event he led throughout to claim his fourth Tour win of the season.

Westwood also seized the first-round initiative over Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, rivals for this year's Volvo Order of Merit title. Montgomerie recorded a disappointing 69 having shared the lead at five under par after eight holes, while Clarke headed straight for the range following his even more uninspiring 73.

The opening round was also highlighted by three holes-in-one: by Wales' Paul Affleck, Spain's Ivo Giner and France's Jeff Remesy at the eighth, third and 11th holes respectively.

* Britain's Laura Davies has a last chance to keep a coveted record when she lines up in the Mexx Sport Dutch Open starting today in Zandvoort. Since joining the European Tour in 1985 she has claimed at least one title every season. She has won twice in the United States this year but she has not managed a victory in Europe.

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