Westwood (69) trying to follow in Garcia's footsteps

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ERIN, Wis. – If Sergio Garcia can break through a history of major championship heartache, why can’t Lee Westwood?

Westwood made an encouraging start Thursday at the U.S. Open in his bid to follow up Garcia’s Masters’ victory with his own breakthrough.

Westwood’s 3-under-par 69 at Erin Hills moved him into early contention. He was tied for sixth among the morning wave, four shots behind Rickie Fowler.

“It’s a nice start to a U.S. Open,” Westwood said. “I hit the ball really well, hit it close a few times and putted nicely as well.”

Westwood hit all but two fairways Thursday and all but two greens in regulation. He had five birdies and a double bogey on his first nine before running off a strong of nine straight pars on his second nine.


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Westwood is 0 for 76 in majors, but he has had plenty of close calls. He has finished third or better nine times in majors. Nobody’s recorded more than that without winning.

Garcia was 0 for 73 in majors before winning the Masters in April. While it was too early for Westwood, 44, to talk about winning, he likes his start.

“If I keep playing like this, I should be thereabouts come Sunday, with a chance,” Westwood said.

The former world No. 1 has won 23 European Tour titles and two PGA Tour titles.