Westwood win keeps Kaymer at arm's length
Monday 02 May 2011
Lee Westwood yesterday claimed his second victory in succession to maintain his position as world No 1. The Englishman carded a flawless closing round of 67 to win the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea ahead of Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The 38-year-old birdied the 18th to set the clubhouse target with 12-under-par, before watching from the locker room as Jimenez failed to match that finish and force a play-off. Jimenez finished second on 11-under after a closing 71, with South Korea's Sang-hyun Park a shot further back in third and American Dustin Johnson fourth on nine-under.
Westwood needed a top-five finish to remain top of the rankings, with Germany's Martin Kaymer in line to overtake him despite not playing in the latest round of tournaments. "I must admit it was nerve-racking sitting there watching people play. You never wish ill on anyone but I'm delighted to win. I've won two weeks in a row before but it's still very special. It's tough to come down off a win and get yourself refocused, but the more experience you get the easier it is to do it," Westwood said.
Jimenez was quick to congratulate Westwood and the latter revealed the pair had enjoyed dinner together the night before: "We had a nice bottle of red and after dinner I said 'I'll see you in the play-off tomorrow' and it nearly went that way."
Bad weather on Saturday meant the third round had to be completed yesterday morning and Jimenez shared the lead on 10-under after 54 holes, alongside Sweden's Alexander Noren and Welshman Rhys Davies.
Westwood was three behind after completing a 69, but then mastered the tricky conditions in the final round to pile the pressure on the leaders.
He added: "I wanted to try and shoot the best round of the day. I don't know if 67 is, but it feels pretty good. Billy [Foster, his caddie] said to me on the sixth or seventh that 11-under will have a chance so that was the figure we were aiming for. It's tricky out there. It's a difficult course because it goes around the hills and it's difficult to pick the wind up, it swirls a lot. I'm pleased with the way I'm striking it. Billy said, 'You're hitting it straight at every flag, it either comes up a few feet short or a few feet long.' I gave myself a lot of chances and now and then a few go in."
Jimenez needed a birdie over the closing stretch to force a play-off, but instead had to save par from sand on the 15th and 17th before failing to get up and down from another bunker on the par-five 18th for the birdie.
Meanwhile, Luke Donald, who missed out on the world No 1 ranking after his play-off defeat at The Heritage last weekend, was five shots off the pace after three rounds of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A two-under-par 70 left him at seven-under for the tournament, adrift of Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, the leaders going into last night's final round.
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