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Lee Westwood a Winner Again at Nedbank Challenge

Westwood heading back up the rankings (Photo: Getty Images )
Former world number one golfer, Lee Westwood, has won more than 40 events as a professional but at the age of 45 those wins were becoming few and far between.

Today, however, Westwood won his first event anywhere in more than three and a half years with a stunning final round at the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa to defeat the long-time leader of the event, Sergio Garcia.

Beginning the final round three shots behind Garcia, Westwood began his chase with an eagle at the second hole after a stunning three-wood approach to the par 5 and when Garcia bogeyed his opening hole soon after the pair were tied in the blink of an eye.

It would be Westwood’s powerful closing nine of 31, though, which would see him eventually establish the three shot winning margin.

“Pretty emotional,” responded Westwood when asked his feelings after the win.

“A little bit relieved. Still got it, I guess. Just nice to do it again under pressure and win against a couple of quality players at the end there, Sergio and Louis were my two nearest challengers. To hit the shots I hit down the stretch, it was just nice to prove it to yourself every now and again.

“It's not such an easy golf course when the wind is in the direction it was and it was swirling as the day went on. I made a nice par on one, and a great three wood on the second to about three feet.

“Then made a lovely par at the third and then just steadied off and gave myself birdie chances pretty much all the way around. It was essential to get off to a quick start and put a bit of pressure on Sergio.

“Until now, my emotions have felt really under control all day, which is what I've been working on. I was just trying to hit fairways and stick to my game plan and hit it in the right places. I've got a bit of a process I'm going through with the golf swing.

“I'm starting to see better shots. The seven iron into 17 is probably one of the best shots I've ever hit. It all just worked, and it was great to do it with Helen (Storey).”

Storey is Westwood’s partner and this would be the second time in 2018 she has caddied for him.

“It's been brilliant. She's caddied twice for me this year and we lost in a play-off in Denmark and we've won here. Have to have a bit of a rethink, not least about who caddies for me, but our percentages."

Westwood is currently ranked 119th in the world but this victory will move him back inside the top 70 and while a long way from his heyday in 2010 and 2011 when he held the top mantle in two separate stretches he is headed in the right direction.

Garcia was disappointed to have not won but he was full of praise for his long time Ryder Cup teammate Westwood.

“I'm thrilled for him, said Garcia of the winner. “He had a bad Ryder Cup at Hazeltine and he struggled a little bit, and he's been playing much better this year. He's been knocking on the door for winning. He played well in Valderrama. I wish I would have won myself, but if not, obviously to see Lee do it is pretty nice.”

Louis Oosthuizen, who had challenged for the lead for much of the day, appeared to have second place locked up until a disastrous and costly double bogey at the 18th.

Australians Jason Scrivener and Wade Ormsby both had excellent weeks finishing in a share of 16th place while Lucas Herbert finished 35th and New Zealander Ryan Fox 50th.

The European Tour now heads for Dubai and its final event of the 2018 season the DP World Championship Dubai where Australasia will be represented by Wade Ormsby, Lucas Herbert and Ryan Fox with Jason Scrivener appearing as if he will miss out on making the sixty players to tee it up in the US$8 million event. 




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