Lee Westwood made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure with a two-shot victory over Francesco Molinari at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

In collecting the winner’s cheque for €500,000, the Englishman climbed from fourth to first on the Race to Dubai. He has also moved to fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Westwood secured the 30th professional victory of his career when he made an unlikely birdie on the Victoria Course’s long 17th. He pulled his second shot left and was faced with a treacherous up and down from a tight lie with water waiting behind the green. But, the 36-year-old played the perfect shot and was left with a tap-in birdie to take a two shot lead over Molinari to the final tee.

It was Westwood’s first victory since the British Masters of 2007. Since then he’s lost out in three play-offs and recorded 26 top-ten finishes. But it was the win that the Englishman craved.

“It’s nice to finish it off, you never know when the next win is going to come and you start to question yourself,” he said. “You always slightly doubt yourself and to be number one again feels great. It’s been nearly ten years since I won it. I’m also delighted about the world rankings. I always have a good look at that and it’s a reflection of my consistency.”

Molinari was disappointed with his closing round of 70 though moving to 11th in the Race to Dubai will have provided consolation.

“I struggled a bit again with the putter today, he said. “So, it’s all right. Right now I’m disappointed but probably tomorrow I will feel better.”

Padraig Harrington was third while Peter Hanson and Marcel Siem tied for fourth. Rory McIlroy ended the week in a tie for 30th place and dropped to second on the Race to Dubai standings.

Portugal Masters
Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
Oct 15-18, purse €3,000,000, par 72

1    Lee Westwood (Eng)    66    67    66    66    265    €500,000
2    Francesco Molinari (Ita) 63    66    68    70    267    €333,330
3    Padraig Harrington (Ire) 69    62    71    67    269    €187,800
T4    Peter Hanson (Swe)    71    65    66    68    270    €138,600
T4    Macel Siem (Ger)        67    69    67    67    270    €138,600
T6    Johan Edfors (Swe)    69    66    68    68    271    €75,400
T6    Retief Goosen (RSA)    68    64    64    75    271    €75,400
T6    Alexander Noren (Swe)    70    70    69    62    271    €75,400    
T6    Justin Rose (Eng)        65    70    70    66    271    €75,400
T6    Charl Schwartzel (RSA)    65    65    71    70    271    €75,400
T6    Danny Willett (Eng)    69    68    66    68    271    €75,400

Player scores listed in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only

Where next?

Martin Laird wins Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open