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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 17:25 UK

Masters runner-up Lee Westwood still making major plans

Lee Westwood
Westwood was third at Torrey Pines in the 2008 US Open behind Tiger Woods

England's top golfer Lee Westwood is taking every preparation to 'fine-tune' his game as he bids to turn himself from nearly man into major winner.

The world number three from Worksop has enjoyed top-three finishes in his last three majors, most recently as runner-up at Augusta in the Masters in April.

And, already, he is planning for next month's US Open at Pebble Beach by taking a first real look at the course.

Westwood will miss next week's Wales Open at Celtic Manor to fly to California.

And, having also opted to not play in this week's Madrid Masters to enjoy a family holiday, the Nottinghamshire golfer will play just once more, at the St Jude Classic in Memphis, before teeing up at Pebble Beach on 17 June.

Westwood, who finished third behind Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines the last time the US Open was held in California two years ago, has already stated his intention to cut down his schedule.

It has worked for the likes of Woods and Masters champion Phil Mickelson. And, having only played seven tournaments this year, 37-year-old Westwood is sticking to that plan.

Last weekend's tie for 10th at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was his first appearance since finishing three strokes adrift of Mickelson at Augusta.

But, especially after shooting a superb final-round 66, he was quite happy with his best finish at Wentworth since finishing tied for second behind Colin Montgomerie 10 years ago.

If I improve enough, then my second place in the Masters will turn into a first place somewhere else down the line in the majors

England's number one golfer Lee Westwood

"I don't really pay too much attention to that week," he told BBC Radio Nottingham. "This has never been my course, so I never dwell too much on how things go."

More importantly, a top 10 finish on a course where he had missed the cut seven times in his last nine attempts merely maintained this year's consistent form.

He has only once finished over par for the week, when he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi in January.

And, since then, he has finished third in Qatar, second in Dubai and tied for 30th in the WGC - CA at Doral in March.

He will have played just four tournaments in as many months prior to the US Open, having opted to skip the chance to play Celtic Manor, this year's Ryder Cup venue in October.

But Celtic Manor in June, four months ahead of the Ryder Cup, will be playing very differently to how it should be in October. And Westwood plans to head down to South Wales much nearer the time, instead preferring to concentrate on working at his overall game off the course.

"It's purely and simply down to hard work," he said, "in the gym, on the range and on the chipping green."

"I played very well at the Masters and I'm continue trying to improve that - my swing, my short game and my putting.

"Hopefully, if I improve enough then my second place in the Masters will turn into a first place somewhere else down the line in the Majors.

"The start of the season has been good. I'm high up in the world rankings and the Order of Merit and looking forward to the rest of the year's Majors and World Golf Championships having started pretty well."



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