Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Westwood Stays Cool as Open Rivals Wilt in Heat; THE OPEN: Day Two at Muirfield

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Westwood Stays Cool as Open Rivals Wilt in Heat; THE OPEN: Day Two at Muirfield

Article excerpt

LEE Westwood flies the flag alone for the North East today in the second half of The Open Championship at Muirfield promising he is going to enjoy the challenge with a smile.

With Bamburgh Castle's British Amateur champion Garrick Porteous missing the cut, Westwood, attached to Close House, is well placed to launch a push for his first major win just one shot off the lead on two under alongside Tiger Woods (below) after a threeunder 68 yesterday.

The Florida-based Westwood shot a one-over 72 on Thursday and insisted: "I enjoyed that round as well, I just love playing the Open.

"This is the biggest tournament of the year for me, being a Brit, and it being played in Britain. And why not enjoy it out there? It's tough for everybody. So I say ... smile your way through!" With the heavily watered course drying out after lunch under the relentless baking sun and breeze blowing down the Firth of Forth, Westwood conceded: "I had an advantage playing in the morning.

"The greens were a little softer this morning. I repaired a pitch mark on the second and third but that was about it as far as that was concerned. Then they started to firm up pretty quickly.

"The course got really difficult and the finish is tough as 16, 17 and 18 are playing hard."

He went out in 31 and after 12 holes was sharing the lead having already collected six of the nine birdies he has totted up in the two rounds so far.

The remaining six holes yesterday brought three bogeys, although he was unlucky not to par the 18th, where his 10ft putt cruelly stayed out balanced right on the edge of the cup.

It was the first time Westwood had signed for a sub-70 round in the second round of the Open - at the 19th attempt, his first since turning 40.

He spent the afternoon watching the golf and the Test cricket on television in a rented house he has snaffled closer to the first tee than the Muirfield clubhouse! …

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