x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Westwood justifies No 1 ranking with second win in two weeks

The Englishman cards a flawless last round 67 at Ballantine's but has a nervous wait before a charging Jimenez fell short by one stroke.

ICHEON, South Korea // Lee Westwood won the Ballantine's Championship on Sunday with a flawless final round of golf to retain his position as world No 1.

The Englishman proved his class at the Blackstone Golf Club near Seoul, carding five birdies on his way to a superb last round 67 and 12 under par for the tournament, a shot clear of Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Westwood did not drop a single shot on his last round but faced an agonising wait in the clubhouse as Jimenez came up the easy par five 18th breathing down his neck.

But the Spaniard's hopes of forcing a playoff were dashed when he overhit his second shot into a bunker behind the green and missed the birdie putt he needed from 15 feet.

The win was Westwood's first on the European Tour since November 2009 and the 38-year-old has now recorded back-to-back tournament victories following his triumph at the Indonesian Masters last week.

After thunderstorms called an early halt to the third round on Saturday, Westwood was left with 24 holes to play on Sunday but kept his concentration in blustery conditions.

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

"When you're world No 1 it's always nice to come and play like you're one and I think I did that.

Resuming his third round on Sunday in a tricky position on the 13th, Westwood dropped a shot but responded with birdies on the 14th and 17th before launching his final round charge.

“I must admit, it was nerve-racking sitting there, watching people play. You never wish ill on anyone, but I’m delighted to win,” Westwood said.

“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.”

Jimenez had a share of the lead after the third round and put on a fine display of short iron play and putting but ultimately he paid the price for two bogeys on the front nine.

Westwood said he had dinner with Jimenez on Saturday, and his Ryder Cup teammate and jokingly said to him: “See you tomorrow in a play-off.”

“It nearly went that way,” Westwood said.

The keen football fan said waking up to find out his team, Nottingham Forest, had won 5-1 on Saturday had spurred him on.

The local fans were given something to cheer as Park Sang-hyun, sporting dazzling pink trousers, sank a sensational putt from off the green to eagle the 18th and grab third place with 10 under par for the tournament.