Lee Westwood Comes Up Short Once More at a Major Championship

April 12th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

Holding the 54-hole lead over night at a major championship is never easy.  There is nothing but time.  Waiting, waiting and waiting to get back onto the course the next day.

That was the exact position that Lee Westwood found himself in for the first time at the Masters this week.

Westwood controlled a one-shot advantage over Phil Mickelson heading into Sunday, but came up just short, a theme that has traveled with him over the last two years at major championships, since the 2008 U.S open.

There, he missed a putt that would have put him in the playoff with Tiger Wood and Rocco Mediate.  Westwood has tabbed four top-3 finishes in the last seven majors, having not broken through with his first Major championship.

“The closer I get to winning these major championships, the more I want the next one to come around,” said Westwood after his round. “When you’ve come close, there’s a tinge of disappointment straight off. I was disappointed walking up to the last green, obviously. But once that’s passed, I didn’t do too much wrong today. I can walk away with a lot of positive thoughts and memories from this Masters.”

With his runner-up finish, Westwood now has nine top-10 finishes in Major Championships.

Last year at the British Open, Westwood three-putted the 72nd hole, and finished just one shot out of a playoff between Tom Watson and Stewart Cink, in which Cink achieved his first Major victory.

At Augusta National this past week, Westwood performed as well as he ever had, which came as no surprise to him.

“If you sat me down at the start of the year and asked me to rate which ones suit me, I would probably put the Masters last and say it was the one that suited me the least,” Westwood remarked after his round. “So to finish second is obviously a massive boost for the rest of the year. I’ve just got to keep doing the things I’m doing. I think my short game can still improve — even though it’s a lot better. It was a master class from Phil out there around the greens. That’s the sort of standard you’ve got to be up to.”

If one could relate to Westwood’s frustration, it is Mickelson.  The lefty long held the label as the best player never to win a major championship, going 12 years and 42 Major Championships before notching his first at the 2004 Masters.  He has since won the 2006 Masters, 2006 PGA Championship, and now the 2010 Masters.

“As I said to him, there’s nothing I can say,” Mickelson remarked in a post-round conference. “I’ve been in that position, and it sucks. But I also told him he is playing some of the best golf of anybody in the world, he’s an incredible player and I pull for him. And I want him to win his first major soon, because he is that kind of talent, that type of player and a quality guy.”

Westwood entered the week as the fourth-ranked player in the world, and will look to continue his sharp play on the golf course.

Westwood was installed as the second in the line of betting favorites to win according to USA Online Sportsbooks on Sunday, behind only Mickelson.

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