Westwood dominates ‘Africa’s Major’

6 December 2010

Lee Westwood chipped in on the 18th green of the Gary Player Country Club to put an exclamation mark on a dominating performance as he won South Africa’s Nedbank Golf Challenge by eight shots at Sun City on Sunday.

Westwood was two shots off the lead after the opening round, but from then on the story the rest of the way was all about the Englishman as he fired a stunning eight-under-par 64 in the second round to take a three-shot lead. He never surrendered it.

Interviewed afterwards, Westwood said carrying a five-shot lead into the final round had enabled him to avoid taking risks. He said his objective was to card the best round on the final day because he didn’t feel the course would give up a low score.

‘Professional’

He was on the mark, firing a four-under-par 68, which was matched by Retief Goosen. No one else bettered 71. “Professional,” said the Englishman of his effort.

Not only did the win boost Westwood’s bank balance by US$1.25-million, but it also further solidified his position at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.

Ten years ago he narrowly missed out on the title when he fell to Ernie Els in a playoff with $2-million up for grabs.

Ross Fisher was alone in second halfway through the event after rounds of 67 and 68. He was tied for second after three rounds, but slipped down the standings on the final day as two South Africans made a run at runner-up.

Last after the first round

Tim Clark, who was last in the field after an opening round of 73, responded with rounds of 67 and 68 to leave him on eight-under-par 208 heading into the final round.

Retief Goosen was steady through the first three rounds, shooting a level-par 72, followed by successive rounds of 70. On Sunday, he made an early charge, sinking five birdies within the first 14 holes, but his momentum was stopped when he found the water on the 17th.

Clark, meanwhile, relied on a sharp short game to keep his challenge together. After a poor start, with a dropped shot at the first, he birdied the 10th, 11th, and 16th before dropping a shot on the 17th.

Clutch putt

On the 18th, he needed a testing eight-foot putt for par to secure second place. Riding on the shot was prize money of well over $200 000, the difference between second and third place. Clark, showing good BMT, produced a solid clutch putt to finish with a 71 and second place on nine-under-par 279.

Goosen’s drop on 17th allowed Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiminez to tie the South African for third on eight-under 280.

Fisher began the day with consecutive bogeys and ultimately had to settle for a tie for fifth with Ernie Els, on five-under-par 283 after closing with a disappointing three-over-par 75.

Last year’s champion Robert Allenby never really fired throughout the tournament and failed to break 70. He finished tied for seventh with Padraig Harrington on three-under 285. Harrington led after a first round six-under-par 66, but couldn’t better a level-par 72 the rest of the way.

Three successive 72s

Justin Rose’s event included three successive 72s after an opening round of 70. He shared ninth with Anders Hansen, who stumbled to a 76 on Sunday, on two-under-par 286.

Edoardo Molinari finished in 11th on one-under-par 287 after tumbling to a 76 in the final round and Louis Oosthuizen brought up the rear on two-over 290.

The British Open champion, who recently returned to action from an ankle injury, fought his way through illness to complete the tournament, but was far off his best form.

LEADERBOARD

 

  • 1 Lee Westwood -17 18 -4 68 64 71 68
  • 2 Tim Clark -9 18 -1 73 67 68 71
  • T3 Retief Goosen -8 18 -4 72 70 70 68
  • T3 Miguel Angel Jimenez -8 18 -1 69 69 71 71
  • T5 Ernie Els -5 18 +1 71 68 71 73
  • T5 Ross Fisher -5 18 +3 67 68 73 75
  • T7 Robert Allenby -3 18 E 70 70 73 72
  • T7 Padraig Harrington -3 18 +3 66 72 72 75
  • T9 Anders Hansen -2 18 +4 72 70 68 76
  • T9 Justin Rose -2 18 E 70 72 72 72
  • 11 Edoardo Molinari -1 18 +4 71 67 73 76
  • 12 Louis Oosthuizen +2 18 +2 71 73 72 74

 

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