Friday, September 14, 2007

Westwood equals career-best 61 at Mercedes

PULHEIM, Germany (AP) — Lee Westwood found his old putter and shot an 11-under 61 Thursday in the first round of Mercedes-Benz Championship.

The Englishman took a four-stroke lead after finishing one shot short of Fredrik Jacobson's course record of 60 set in 2003. Westwood went 7-under on the last seven holes, shooting 29 on the back nine. The 61 tied his career best.

Soren Hansen was second with a 65, ahead of Nick Dougherty and Simon Dyson at 66. John Daly shared fourth place with a 67.

Daly eagled the par-5, 523-yard 15th hole, a feat duplicated by Westwood, who chipped in from 40 feet.

Westwood had 10 birdies to go with the eagle. On the last seven holes, he dropped two birdies from 18 feet, one from 12 and another from 20.

Westwood said poor putting cost him a chance to win his last two events. After finishing tied for sixth at last week's European Masters, he returned home Sunday and rummaged through a garage full of old putters.

"I sifted through a few and picked one out that felt nice and sat nice," Westwood said. "My putting has been dreadful for most of the year, and it was starting to irritate me, but I made more putts today outside of 15 feet than I have in the past two weeks."

The Mercedes-Benz is the only German tournament Westwood hasn't won.

Source -

20 nations sign up for Fortis golf tourney

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 20 nations have signed up for the Fortis International Challenge at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club from Sept 27-30.

Two-man teams from Asia, Europe and Africa will chase for five tickets to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in November.

The early favourites include Chinese Taipei, Holland, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and home team Malaysia, which will be represented by Airil Rizman and Iain Steel.

Lin Wen-tang, winner of the Brunei Open earlier this month, will spearhead Chinese Taipei alongside brother Wen-hong as they make a bid for their maiden World Cup appearance.

South Korean Lee-sung, who was born deaf, could complete a fairy-tale season with a successful campaign with partner Lee Seung-ho.

Lee-sung claimed his breakthrough Asian Tour triumph at the Bangkok Airways Open in June and his strong performance even caught the attention of South African star Ernie Els when they played together at the BMW Asian Open earlier this year.

The Fortis International Challenge will use the fourball (better ball) format in the first and third rounds and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.

A total of 18 teams will qualify automatically for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup through the Official World Golf Rankings.

Five qualifying places are available at the Fortis International Challenge and Nations Cup in South America respectively, which will bring the total number of teams for the World Cup to 28.

Source- The Star Newspaper

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