x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Rare Westwood slip

The world No 4 makes no attempt to hide his anger on the course as he has a bad final round in Doha and finishes third.

Lee Westwood reflects on his round yesterday.
Lee Westwood reflects on his round yesterday.

DOHA // Lee Westwood would not have risen so spectacularly up the golfing hierarchy without being able to deal with the twin impostors of triumph and disaster. The orld No 4 sensibly realised that yesterday was a day for looking on the bright side. Westwood made no attempt to hide his anger on the course as a replacement driver issued to him to complete his challenge for the tournament, failed to meet his expectations. He managed to pull himself together afterwards to reflect on his joint third-place finish. "Under the circumstances 11-under par is an unbelievably good score," he said.

"It's hard to imagine anything else going wrong this week so I've done well to finish where I have. I had to play virtually the entire back nine with a three wood because every time I pulled the driver out of the bag, it went in the rough and you can't play a course like this from the rough." Westwood will not let this rare bad day at the office deflect him from his principal aim of securing a maiden major title.

As much as he would like to win one of the Desert Swing events, he regards his three weeks in the Gulf as a sort of pre-season training. "Of course I'm trying 100 per cent to win but the plan is to get my game back to where it should be as soon as possible," he said. "I've been very rusty over the last couple of weeks and my efforts to overcome that have not been helped by all the things that have gone wrong."

He was referring also to his missed cut in Abu Dhabi, where he failed to adapt quickly enough to new clubs enforced on him by amended groove regulations. Westwood's untidy finish in what had appeared to be a straight fight with the eventual winner, Robert Karlsson, opened the door for Spaniard Alvaro Quiros to overtake him on the run-in and snatch second prize to follow his victory here of a year ago.

"I've been very lucky," said Quiros, who finished with three birdies. "I holed a putt of 30 metres on the ninth and I chipped in twice so this course has been very good to me." Quiros's playing partner, Brett Rumford, also finished with a flourish to tie for third place with Westwood. The Australian, who led after two rounds, was disappointed that he could not maintain that early form but was pleased with his four day's work.

"I just hung in there," he said. "I made a lot of really good eight-to 12-feet putts which kept me in contention throughout the weekend." Oliver Wilson did well to finish in a three-way tie for fifth place considering he had been involved in a minor traffic accident on the way to the course. wjohnson@thenational.ae