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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 03:54 GMT 04:54 UK
Westwood affirms comeback
Lee Westwood and wife Laurae
Lee Westwood set off to Atlanta on Monday with a spring in his step and a bulge in his wallet after his victory in the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

The 30-year-old Englishman snuck into the field for the prestigious WGC-American Express Championship after a stunning reversal in form which has seen him lift two trophies in five weeks.

Not so long ago, Westwood was in the midst of a two-year slump in which he did not have one top-10 finish and fell from fourth in the world to nearly 250th.

But after starting to work with swing guru David Leadbetter in February, he finally came good with victory in the BMW International Open title last month.

And he captured his 26th professional title on Sunday to leap to fourth on the Order of Merit.

"Who would have thought it?" grinned Westwood after conquering the Old Course with a closing 67.

My temperament helped me because I didn't let it get to me away from the game
Lee Westwood

"It shows how quickly things can turn around. It's hard to separate my wins, but this is right up there and I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted.

"It's a funny game, isn't it, and I can't explain it. I was close to despair many times - it's natural, I think - and doubts did creep in, but you have to convince yourself you're doing the right things.

"And my temperament helped me because I didn't let it get to me away from the game.

"If I had, it would have driven me mad, but I've always been able to separate it."

Westwood, partnered with manager Chubby Chandler for the pro-am style tournament, had just one bogey in the four rounds - two over the Old Course and one each at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

And playing alongside his friend and stablemate Darren Clarke in the final round, he held off the Northern Irishman and world number two Ernie Els to win by a single stroke.

His third-round course-record 62 at Kingsbarns included his first-ever albatross, acheived with a four iron from 218 yards at the 18th.

Westwood, the 2000 Order of Merit winner, is now well on his way to a fourth Ryder Cup appearance.

And he is now firmly back in the winners' circle where he undoubtedly belongs.


WATCH AND LISTEN
England's Lee Westwood
"It does not get much better than this"



SEE ALSO
Westwood keeps cool
03 Sep 03  |  Golf
Westwood sees the light
31 Aug 03  |  Golf
Westwood ends title drought
31 Aug 03  |  Golf


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