WESTWOOD claims second Thailand Golf Championship Lee Westwood claimed a unique Thailand Golf Championship double when he staged a fabulous fight back with a final round five-under-par 67 to win the US$1 million Asian Tour event on Sunday. The former world number one won the inaugural edition in 2011 and made it another victory to remember by signing off with a four-day total of eight-under-par 280 at the Amata Spring Country Club. Overnight leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and Germany’s Martin Kaymer had their chances to force extra-time with Westwood but fell just short on the 72nd hole and settled for a share of second place one shot behind. India’s Anirban Lahiri did not get the win he wanted as he signed off with a 73 to share sixth place with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and American Jonathan Moore at the Thai showpiece. The 27-yearold, however, earned a well-deserved place at the 144th Open at St. Andrews in 2015 as one of the top four players who were not otherwise exempted from the world’s oldest Major. Westwood was delighted with his win as he overcame intense pressure to lift the prestigious title again. ‘When I won the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011, I had a pretty big lead. But this win is obviously very special as it was a very tight day out there and I didn’t get off to the best of starts and I had lots of work to do,’ said Westwood. Starting the round two shots back of Fraser, Westwood seemed to have fallen out of the equation when he opened with two successive bogeys. But the Englishman showed his mettle with a stunning comeback where he fired four straight birdies starting from the par-four sixth hole. He continued his amazing birdie blitz by marking his card with more red numbers on holes 11, 14 and 15 to seal his second title. ‘My caddy, Billy told me there were opportunities to pick some shots up in the middle of the round after I made those two bogeys. I did that and didn’t drop any more shots and gave myself lots of chances,’ said Westwood. ‘This is my last event of the year and it’s nice to finish with a win and go into Christmas and start the New Year with confidence. I know what I’ve got to work on and I’ll be doing that over the next six weeks before the season starts again,’ added the Englishman.
STENSON eyes Major after DP World Tour Championship double Henrik Stenson is eyeing a first Major Championship in 2015 after defending a title for the first time in his career at the DP World Tour Championship. The Swede carded a closing 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish 16-under-par, two shots ahead of World Number One Rory McIlroy and fellow Ryder Cuppers Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson. Victory also assured him of second spot behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai and second in the world rankings: ‘It would be nice to have been ranked the world’s best at some point,’ said Stenson. ‘But if I had the choice I would go for a Major Championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year.’ Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello was seemingly in control on the 16th tee before successive double-bogeys on the par four and par three 17th when he found water on both occasions. McIlroy and Rose closed on 14-under after agonisingly missing nearidentical putts for birdie on 18. Stenson was on the same number after 16 holes before a brilliant iron at the par three left a tapin birdie and he sealed victory in style with a fine birdie four at the last. ‘It feels great,’ added the 38-year-old. ‘I’m exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there and tricky on the back nine. I did not play my best and had a shocking hole on 11 but I did not give up. I just had to dig in there and wait for something to happen. I had a couple of close calls this year to get my win and it was not to be. It’s been close but eventually you get something if you stick around and I surely did that.’ McIlroy already had the Race to Dubai title sewn up but was made to rue missed opportunities as he looked in vain for a perfect finish to an incredible season: ‘It seemed like no-one took it by the scruff of the neck,’ said the Northern Irishman. ‘I thought if I could post 16-under I might have a chance. I just did not play well enough to win this week.’