Golf-Number One Westwood in the Hunt for 'Missing' Major

Monday, 02 May 2011 12:29 PM

 

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SEOUL, May 2 (Reuters) - Lee Westwood returned to Europe after a two-week Asian excursion on Monday with two more titles in the bag, an extra $660,000 in the bank and the feeling that he is playing like a world number one.

The 38-year-old, the subject of sniping from the United States when he was elevated to the top of the world rankings after winning last week's Indonesian Masters, bagged the European Tour-sanctioned Ballantine's Championship by a stroke on Sunday.

The first reigning number one to play in Korea, Westwood needed a top-five finish at the Blackstone Golf Club to remain top of the rankings but his flawless final five-under-par 67 made the calculations redundant.

"When you're number one it's always nice to come to a place and play like the world number one and I think I did do this week," the Briton told a news conference after his victory.

"It was very tough out there and to go around without making a bogey, five birdies and 13 pars was a special round of golf I think.

"Professional golf is all about winning, and it's great to do it back-to-back two weeks in a row."

Some have questioned Westwood's position as number one given he has yet to win one of golf's four major championships.

The Englishman betrayed irritation at the question before the start of the Ballantine's but reiterated afterwards that it remained his main target.

"My next goal is to win a major championship," he said. "It's the dream of all professional golfers to get to number one in the world rankings, and I've done that.

"I haven't won a major yet and that's the missing thing. So that's what I gave all my practice towards and my scheduling. That's the next thing, hopefully."

The hilly Blackstone course presented a physical challenge to all the players but Westwood, once one of the heavier players in the world game, said retaining focus was a bigger test for him these days.

"The fitness isn't a problem because I do a lot of gym work now when I'm in weeks off. So I've got pretty strong legs and the hills are not much of a problem," he said.

"It's focusing and concentrating all week, which is the difficult part. Especially when you're in contention. And that just comes with playing a lot of professional golf and being in that situation a lot. You train yourself to do it."

Westwood will have his next chance to snare a major title at the U.S. Open at the Congressional club in Maryland on June 13-19.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Ian Ransom)

(For the sports blog Left Field go to: http://blogs.reuters.com/sport))

 

 

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