Lee Westwood seals seven-shot victory at Thailand Golf Championship
Westwood was claiming second win in three starts
Fellow Englishman Ian Poulter takes Australian Masters title
Poulter dons gold jacket after final round 67 in Melbourne
Lee Westwood will move to number two in the world after completing a front-running victory at the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship Sunday.
Westwood held his nerve in the face of a determined challenge from U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel to win by seven shots at the Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok.
Westwood’s second tournament win in three outings came after Ian Poulter secured a three-shot victory in the Australian Masters in Melbourne, capping superb year for English golfers, with the rankings topped by Luke Donald.
The 38-year-old Westwood carded a final round three-under-par 69 for 22-under 266.
He had led by a staggering 11 shots after his two opening rounds of 60 and 64, which he described as “the best golf of my life.”
But stablemate Schwartzel had closed to four shots overnight and the outcome remained in doubt until Westwood rolled home a pressure birdie putt to match the South African on the 12th and followed with another at the next.
Westwood, who has rejoined the U.S. Tour for 2012, has stepped up his efforts in pursuit of a first major title.
“I’m going to continue to work on my fitness and all aspects of my game. I’m going in the right direction, I can see a lot of improvement and I’m happy with the way I’ve finished the year, I’ve won two of my last three events,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ll go into the winter with a lot of confidence and I’ll try to come out next year playing the same kind of golf as I played this week, a little bit leaner and well rested.”
American Michael Thompson took third and another Englishman, Simon Dyson, finished in a tie for fourth at 12-under with Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol.
Earlier, Poulter came from two shots behind overnight leader Geoff Ogilvy to card a four-under-par 67 at the Victoria Golf Club for a 15-under aggregate of 269.
It was his second victory of an otherwise difficult season for the flamboyant 37-year-old, who already has his eye on qualification points for the 2012 European Ryder Cup team.
“To win this is the second highlight in what has been a tough year for me,” Poulter told gathered reporters.
“To do this in a Ryder Cup year and move inside the top 20 on the world rankings means a heck of a lot.”
Australian Marcus Fraser finished second with Ogilvy a further shot back in third.
Donald, who topped the money lists on the European and PGA Tours, could not round out a triumphant year as he finished with a 72 and a four-under total of 280.