JOHN CREEKS, Ga. - Lee Westwood appears to be the last hope for manager Andrew Chandler to represent all four major champions in 2011. With Rory McIlroy‘s wrist throbbing, Darren Clarke heading home for the weekend and Charl Schwartzel fading after a hot start Friday in the group ahead of the English world No. 2, Westwood staked his claim to join the three at the PGA of America’s Grand Slam of Golf in the fall.
Westwood shot a second round 2-under 68 to move to 1 under for the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
It wasn’t easy for Westwood, who is still seeking his first major title at age 38. He opened with a bogey on his second hole, the par-4 11th, before making two birdies and the rest pars to turn in 1 under. The back nine was much more of a roller coaster, including just two pars on the side.
With the round in the balance after bogeys at his 11th and 12th holes of the day, Westwood rallied to cancel them out with two straight birdies. The Englishman says his laissez-faire attitude this week allowed him to make that comeback.
“I think that’s why after bogeying 2 and 3, I came back with birdies on 4 and 5. Maybe the trying too hard me would have bogeyed the next after that,” he said.
Given the heat on Friday, Westwood may have been smiling through more than a tough day on the course, but a soaking one, too. For that reason, Westwood was happy to move at a Southern pace around Atlanta Athletic Club.
“Last thing I wanted to do out there was move quicker,” he joked.
Westwood seems to like his position – done before the weekend, under par and waiting to see what the likes of Steve Stricker can do in the afternoon on a toughened course.
“I’m sort of cruising into position. 71 yesterday was by no means out of it, and then I wanted to shoot something in the 60s today, hopefully to try to get into the red and be in good position for tomorrow,” he said.