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Lee Westwood cruises to Malaysian Open crown

Updated: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 13:56 | Comments

Lee Westwood with the Malaysian Open trophy
Lee Westwood with the Malaysian Open trophy

Lee Westwood bounced back from his third-round blip to win the Maybank Malaysian Open by seven strokes after a storm-delayed final round.

Play was held up for nearly four hours on Sunday due to the threat of lightning at Kuala Lumpur G&CC but Westwood, who had seen a four-shot lead cut to one by Andy Sullivan in Saturday's third round, responded with a closing 68 to finish on 18 under par.

Michael Hoey finished in a share of 18th place after an excellent final-round 69, which included four birdies, saw him finish on six under par overall.

Simon Thornton had a horror six-over 78, with five bogeys and a double-bogey, to finish on four over and drop back to joint 60th spot.

Westwood's nearest challengers trailed in on 11 under as Sullivan, the former Walker Cup player seeking a first European Tour win, plummeted down the field with a six-over-par 78.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger shot 67, South African Louis Oosthuizen 68 and Westwood's Ryder Cup colleague Nicolas Colsaerts 70 to progress to the head of the chasing pack.

Westwood's fellow Englishman Danny Willett double-bogeyed the last to drop to 10 under alongside Rikard Karlberg and Julien Quesne.

Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, who made headlines earlier in the week when he jumped into a lake to avoid a swarm of hornets, shot 67 and finished in a share of ninth place with Thomas Pieters on nine under.

Westwood, who claimed his 13th win on Asian soil with this victory, believes changes he has made both on and off the course have helped him to improve.

"I started working with a new coach a few weeks ago, Mike Walker, and Billy Foster came back on the bag at the end of last year, so I was going back to what I had done before because it had worked," he told www.europeantour.com

"It's started to work already - the last couple of weeks I've played well in Houston and at the Masters last week and this week I've obviously played very well.

"It's a golf course that suits my game; it's very tight in certain areas. I played well, I putted well, and the short game is good."
Westwood started the day one stroke ahead of Sullivan but moved into a commanding four-shot lead before the weather intervened.

When play resumed, Westwood did not loosen his grip at the top as he moved six clear with a birdie at the 13th before carding four straight pars with a 15-foot putt on the last securing his fourth birdie of the day.

When asked if he is approaching his best form, the 40-year-old added: "It's got the potential, although now I feel like I've got a short game and starting to roll a few putts in.

"It makes a hell of a difference if you can get up-and-down if you miss a few greens and keeps the momentum going."

Sullivan saw his hopes of victory sink when he found the water hazard on the second hole and carded a triple bogey seven.

The 27-year-old fought back with three successive birdies from the fourth hole but dropped another stroke on the seventh after finding the trees.

After play restarted, Sullivan again hit the water on the 12th to drop another shot with a double bogey 14th and dropped shots on the 15th and last drawing a poor round to a close to take a share of 13th place.

In contrast, Westwood's 68 was flawless, with the the seven-shot gap to Colsaerts, Oosthuizen and Wiesberger the largest of his 23 European Tour titles.

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