Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Westwood starts finding new path

Lee Westwood, hitting his tee shot on No. 15, had clinched his match against Nick Watney by the time they finished the following hole.

Getty Images

Lee Westwood, hitting his tee shot on No. 15, had clinched his match against Nick Watney by the time they finished the following hole.

MARANA, Ariz. — Lee Westwood had every reason to pack light for the Match Play Championship. He never made it out of the second round in his 11 previous trips to the World Golf Championships event, and he never could understand why.

Now it seems Westwood can do no wrong.

He has led after 48 of the 49 holes he has played through three rounds at Dove Mountain, barely breaking a sweat under the blazing sun in the high desert. And he erased more bad memories Friday with a 3-and-2 victory over Nick Watney, who eliminated Westwood each of the previous two years.

"You want to come out and get momentum as quickly as possible," said Westwood, who birdied the opening two holes for the second straight match. "And the only way to do that is by winning holes."

Now, Westwood is two matches from a shot at his first WGC title, and a return to No. 1 in the world.

But he's not alone.

Rory McIlroy also can go to No. 1 for the first time by winning. He also had an easy time, winning on the 17th hole over Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The battle for No. 1 — made possible by Luke Donald's loss in the first round — put some interest into an otherwise dull afternoon at Dove Mountain.

No matches went the distance until the final last one, when Bae Sang-moon missed a 6-foot putt on the 17th hole, only to finish off John Senden with a par from about the same distance on No. 18.

McIlroy has struggled to block out the idea that he could go to No. 1. Instead, he's trying to use it as an advantage.

"It's a nice incentive," the U.S. Open champion said.

Westwood was No. 1 a year ago, and it's a less of a priority than to capture his first WGC title. Just getting to the quarterfinals is a small achievement.

"I had a little chuckle watching the Golf Channel on Wednesday morning and listening to them make all their predictions and things like that. I don't think they got many right," Westwood said.

And where did the prognosticators have Westwood?

"On the BA 289 on Thursday night," he said, referring to his usual British Airways flight.

Westwood plays Martin Laird today. Laird beat fellow Scotsman Paul Lawrie 3 and 1.

In other matches:

• Hunter Mahan built a big lead over Steve Stricker and held on for a 4-and-3 win. Mahan next faces Matt Kuchar, a 4-and-3 winner against Martin Kaymer.

• Mark Wilson eliminated Dustin Johnson for the second straight year, 4 and 3.

PGA: Daniel Summerhays birdied the final hole for 6-under 65 and a share of the second-round lead at 8-under 134 with Will Claxton and Greg Owen at the Mayakoba Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

LPGA: Katie Futcher and Jenny Shin shot 5-under 67 in the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore to join first-round leader Angela Stanford atop the leaderboard at 8-under 136. Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (75) was even; Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was 1 over after shooting 74.

Westwood starts finding new path 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.