Mon, May 02, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Westwood wins in Korea to consolidate world No. 1 ranking

Reuters, SEOUL

Britain’s Lee Westwood clinched the Ballantine’s Championship by a stroke yesterday with a scorching final round that secured his second consecutive title in Asia and consolidated his world No. 1 ranking.

The 38-year old Englishman, who won the Indonesian Masters last week, hit a blemish-free five-under 67 at the Blackstone Golf Club near Seoul to finish with a 12-under total of 276, one better than Ryder Cup teammate Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.

Park Sang-hyun of South Korea finished third on 10-under in the European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned event after carding a final-round 69 with an eagle on the last hole.

Westwood, who wrested back the top ranking with his win in Indonesia, trailed the leaders by three strokes after the weather-hit third round finished yesterday morning.

He holed two birdies on the front nine and finished with three more after the turn, but had to endure an anxious wait in the clubhouse as overnight joint leader Jimenez finished his round.

“It feels great. 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.”

The pony-tailed Jimenez needed just one birdie in the closing holes to force a playoff with Westwood, but he could manage only pars on the back nine.

“We had a nice bottle of red and after dinner I said: ‘I’ll see you in the playoff tomorrow’ and it nearly went that way,” said Westwood, who dined with the Spaniard on Saturday before winning his 21st European Tour title. “Billy [Foster, his caddie] said to me on the sixth or seventh that 11-under will have a chance, so that was the figure we were aiming for. It’s tricky out there. It’s a difficult course because it goes around the hills and it’s difficult to pick the wind up, it swirls a lot.”

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