Thursday 24 August 2017

Westwood goes on afternoon stroll to retain Nedbank after 'best round ever'

Lee Westwood comfortably held off all challengers to retain the Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday.

The Englishman, who established a seven-shot lead for the final round after a course-record 62 in South Africa on Saturday, closed with a one-over-par 73 to win by two shots.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson finished second, with Portrush's Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner of America two shots further adrift on 11-under-par at the Sun City resort.

Westwood finished with successive bogeys, but his dominance was never seriously threatened. Birdies on the sixth and ninth helped the 38-year-old's cause, before a bogey on the 12th.

Although his finish was unspectacular, it did not prevent the world No 3 claiming a first prize of over £900,000.

"I've been coming here a long time, this is the ninth time, and it's special every time I come," he said.

"I love playing this course and yesterday was probably the best round I've ever played. It set me up to play conservatively today. It's very satisfying."

McDowell made good ground to close on Westwood, before his challenge faded on the back nine as he double-bogeyed the 15th and dropped another shot at the 16th.

"Today kind of summed up the week -- I made some mistakes at the wrong time," McDowell said. "I might have been in the mix but maybe pushed a bit hard last night and there was the double on the 17th -- but all in all I'm happy with my game."

Kim Kyung-Tae finished fifth with a 70, while home hope Charl Schwartzel was two shots further back on six-under after a 72.

England's world No 1 Luke Donald also managed a 72 to finish a further shot adrift in seventh, a shot clear of Germany's Martin Kaymer, who slipped out of contention with a final-round 76.

Irish Independent

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