Thursday 24 January 2019

Westwood desperate to claim first major

LEE WESTWOOD has had enough of being like Colin Montgomerie – one of life's nearly men when it comes to the four biggest weeks of the year.

If somebody had said two years ago that seven of the next eight majors would be won by players previously without one to their name then Sergio Garcia and Westwood would have been top of the list.

Yet here they both are at the US Open in Washington this week still trying to break their ducks – in Garcia's case grateful to be playing after falling so far down the rankings he had to qualify, but in Westwood's case after three third places and two runners-up finishes in his last 11 starts.

Until he grabs his first victory, that sequence, improving though it is, inevitably sees him bracketed with Montgomerie – runner-up a record five times without ever winning.

Only a week away from his 48th birthday, Montgomerie, reduced to a commentating role at the Congressional course where he had one of his most disappointing second places in 1997, knows his time has certainly gone.

At 38, Westwood knows he needs to pull off the difficult art of remaining patient while desperately wanting not to waste the next opportunity that comes along.

“It's a tricky balancing act, going in with expectations but playing with a freedom as well,” said Westwood.

“It's a fine line when you do get close to it between becoming frustrated, but still seeing positives in it.

“I feel like my game is good enough and if I do a few things differently at the right times then it'll be the difference between a second and a win.”

Westwood, world number one Luke Donald and third-ranked Martin Kaymer have been drawn together.

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