Golf: Wintry weather no problem for back to form Westwood

Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:52pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Former world number one Lee Westwood brushed off wintry conditions and a woeful run of form to boost his hopes of securing a 24th European Tour victory at the British Masters on Thursday.

The 43-year-old reeled off five birdies in a dynamic eight-hole run on the back nine to move within one stroke of first-round leaders Richard Sterne of South Africa, fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, Finn Mikko Ilonen and Marc Warren of Scotland.

"I played really well today," Westwood told reporters after posting a four-under-par 67 at The Grove course on the outskirts of London.

"Billy (Foster) was saying it's the best he's seen me play in quite some time," he said, referring to his long-term caddie.

"The ball is not flying that far because it's heavy and wet and chilly. I hit a lot of fairways and my iron shots were pretty adjacent most of the day."

Westwood has missed his last two cuts and also performed poorly at the Ryder Cup earlier this month, failing to pick up a point from his three matches as Europe were beaten 17-11 by the United States in Minnesota.

"I think the attitude was good today," said the veteran campaigner who had two spells at the top of the world rankings in 2010 and 2011.

"The driving's not been great but I drove it really well today, didn't miss a fairway, and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie."   Continued...

England's Lee Westwood tees off at the 17th hole during the first round of British Masters at The Grove, Hertfordshire.
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs