Westwood poised to claim Masters green jacket
Lee Westwood surprised himself by staying calm and composed during an
amazing day of golf.
Now the Englishman feels he is finally ready to claim a major title
by winning the 74th Masters.
Westwood fired a four-under par 68 on Saturday, fighting off a
challenge from Phil Mickelson to seize a one-stroke lead over the US
star on 12-under par 204 after 54 holes at Augusta National Golf Club.
"Certainly was not nerve wracking. I'm amazed how calm and collected
I was out there," Westwood said.
"I know it's a position I wanted to be in. So I'm looking forward to
Sunday could see Westwood capture his first major title after several
near misses and win the first by any Englishman since Nick Faldo's 1996
last-day comeback over Greg Norman to win the Masters.
But Westwood said he will lose no sleep thinking about his leading a
round at a major by himself for the first time in his life or what a
victory would mean.
"I think I'm ready," Westwood said.
"I felt very calm, comfortable in what I was doing. Every aspect of
my game felt good."
Westwood shared third at the 2009 British Open and PGA Championship
and 2008 US Open, missed opportunities for a man who rose the fourth in
the world, took a tumble of bad form and has fought his way back to the
"The first time I played well, it was easy to take it for granted
because I was young and I had not really experienced any poor play,"
"Now I've experienced both ends of the spectrum, and you learn to
appreciate things more as you get older and the more good times and bad
times you've been through."
Westwood called the back-nine battle Saturday "one of the great days
Westwood opened with a 25-foot birdie, birdied the par-3 sixth and
par-5 eighth for a four-shot lead, then in 35 minutes saw Mickelson make
back-to-back birdies and barely miss another for a tap-in birdie to take
"Glad you were timing it. It seemed quicker," Westwood said.
Westwood birdied the par-5 15th and third-ranked Mickelson took a
bogey at the 17th to put Westwood on top, with a four-stroke edge on
world number one Tiger Woods and South Korean K.J. Choi and a five-shot
edge on Fred Couples.
"You've got 4, 3, and 1 in the world on the leaderboard," Westwood
"That's what everybody wants to see.
Everybody has missed Tiger on the golf course the last five, six
months and he's up there, and Phil is. "I'm going to do the same as I
have been doing, ignore them and just play my own game.
That's the only thing I can control, just hitting it where I want.
"When you are faced with 11, 12, and 13 on this course, there's no
room for thinking about what somebody else is doing. You know never to
go counting your chickens out there too much.
"The guys up on the leaderboard there are great players.
They are going to do something. You have to expect the unexpected at
That means keeping your mind uncluttered by expectations, including
what score it might take to claim the green jacket symbolic of a Masters
"That's the mistake that some people have made. They have a number in
mind," Westwood said.
"It's very boring. I'm going to go out and keep playing the game plan
I've had." AUGUSTA, Georgia, Sunday, AFP