Well, this might shut up many of the naysayers! — world No. 1 Lee Westwood fired a final-round five-under 67 to come from behind and capture his second consecutive victory at the Ballantine’s Championship in Seoul, South Korea. After Westwood regained the top ranking when he won the Indonesian Masters last Sunday, he encountered some skepticism for the strength of the field at the Asian Tour event and his lack of majors. His performance at this week’s European Tour event, which boasted a number of the world’s top players, consolidates his place as the best player on the planet.
“It’s always nice when you’re world No. 1 to show everybody why you’re in that position,” Westwood told EuropeanTour.com. “I’m delighted with the way I played this week.”
After signing for his 67 at the Blackstone GC Course, he was forced to wait and watch for the 54-hole leaders to finish, including good friend and Ryder Cup teammate Miguel Angel Jimenez. Turned out Jimenez missed a 15-footer for birdie on the last hole to tie Westwood’s 12-under total.
“It feels great,” said Westwood. “I must admit it was nerve-racking sitting there watching people play. I don’t obviously wish ill on [Jiménez] but over those last three holes I wasn’t cheering for him to make a birdie.
“I’m delighted. Professional golf is all about winning and it’s great to do it back-to-back two weeks in a row. It was nice to come back from last week and get it all together.”
Westwood and Jimenez dined together the night before. “We had a nice bottle of red and after dinner I said ‘I’ll see you in the playoff tomorrow’ and it nearly went that way,” the Englishman revealed.
Westwood, who secured his 21st European Tour title and his first since 2009, birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to tie Jimenez and then pulled ahead with another birdie on the par-5 18th.
“It was an old man’s performance, really,” he said. “I hung around all week, then today when I needed to do anything I just gauged my way through the field and, obviously, got my head in front on the line.”
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, American Dustin Johnson made his first appearance in Asia, posting a final-round 69 to place fourth.
(AP Photo/Ballantine’s Championship)