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Westwood Tops Jimenez at The Ballantine’s Championship

by Jeff Skinner

Lee Westwood did what World Number One Golfers are supposed to do: he went out and shot a good final round to come from behind and win The Ballantine’s Championship.  His final round 67 was the low round of the day and he jumped up four places to overtake Miguel Angel Jimenez who couldn’t manage a birdie on his back nine and shot a 71 to finish one back of Westwood.

From The European Tour.com:

Lee Westwood lived up to his billing as World Number One with a stunning final round to take the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.

The Englishman, who climbed to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking with victory in Indonesia last week, spoke before this tournament of wanting to deliver a performance befitting his new status.

He certainly did so today, defying the pressure of expectation to shoot a superb 67 and make a decisive charge up the leaderboard late on an elongated day at the Blackstone GC Course.

It propelled him to his 21st European Tour title, but his first since 2009, and lifted him to €653,508 in The Race to Dubai.

He finished on 12 under, one shot clear of joint overnight leader Miguel Angel Jiménez, who ultimately paid the price for carding two bogeys in the first four holes of the outward nine in the last round.

A birdie on the last for Jiménez – as he had done earlier in the day during the completion of the rain interrupted third round – would have taken the tournament into a playoff, but he missed the decisive putt from 15 feet.

“It feels great,” said Westwood. “I must admit it was nerve-racking sitting there watching people play. You never wish ill on anyone but I’m delighted to win.

“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.”

Jimenez was quick to congratulate Westwood and the latter revealed the pair had enjoyed dinner together last night.

“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,” Westwood revealed.

Although Westwood failed to save par after resuming his third round on the 13th, he responded by birdying the 14th and 17th to begin the final round three shots off the lead.

He barely put a foot wrong thereafter, while Jiménez, by contrast, found sand on the 14th, 15th and 18th as his attempts to repair the early damage foundered.

Westwood added: “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.”

Westwood’s birdie on the last was the decisive blow, one that Jimenez couldn’t match.  It kept Westwood in the lead and continued his winning streak.

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