GULLANE, Scotland – Add another layer of major scar tissue for Lee Westwood.
The 40-year-old Englishman, trying desperately to shed the label of Best Player Yet to Win a Major, squandered his best chance Sunday at the Open Championship.
He was two shots clear after 54 holes, and putting better than everyone in the field, requiring only 81 putts – five better than the next-best player – through three rounds.
But it all came apart near the turn Sunday, when he bogeyed Nos. 7 and 8 to fall out of the outright lead, then came home in 37 to finish T-3. It was his eighth T-3 or better in a major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
“Sometimes you play well and somebody plays a bit better, and sometimes you play poorly,” Westwood said after a final-round 75, putting him four shots behind Phil Mickelson. “You’ve got to play well to give yourself your own momentum, and I just couldn’t get there today.”
Westwood’s red-hot putter wasn’t much of a factor on Sunday, not after he failed to hit a fairway on the front nine and was scrambling for par or bogey much of the day.
The world No. 10 recently began working with swing coach Sean Foley and CBS Sports analyst Ian Baker-Finch, who has helped Westwood with his putting. Given the myriad changes, and the way he was playing, he said he was encouraged to even have a chance to win the Open.
“I didn’t really feel like I had my A-game,” Westwood said. “I didn’t feel like I was striking the ball well. I was amazed to be in the lead going into the fourth round, because every time I turned into the wind I was really struggling.”