England’s Lee Westwood confirmed his status as the World’s Number 1 golfer by winning the European Tour’s Ballantine’s Championship in Seoul, South Korea by a single stroke from Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.
Westwood began the final round at Blackstone Golf Club three shots back of Jimenez, Alexander Noren of Sweden and Welshman Rhys Davies. But the 38-year-old from Worksop posted an error-free final round of 67 to overtake his rivals and secure a second victory in as many weeks. He claimed the Asian Tour’s Indonesian Masters last week in Jakarta.
“It feels great,” said Westwood. “I must admit it was nerve-racking sitting there watching people play. I don’t obviously wish ill on Jiménez but over those last three holes I wasn’t cheering for him to make a birdie! Professional golf is all about winning and it’s great to do it two weeks in a row. It was nice to come back from last week and get it all together.”
Jimenez made nine straight pars on his run for home on Sunday and he was aware, it just wasn’t sufficient to beat an on-form Westwood.
“It’s just the way it goes, I made four rounds under par for 11‑under, and that’s not good enough,” he said.
South Korea’s Park Sang-hyun delighted the home fans by finishing with a stunning eagle three to move into third place. Dustin Johnson of the USA finished alone in fourth.
The overnight leaders struggled through Sunday’s final round. Alex Noren dropped down into a tie for fifth after closing with a 75 while Rhys Davies eventually took a tie for 13th after a final round 77 that included a quadruple bogey eight at the par-4 12th.
This was Westwood’s 21st European Tour victory but, surprisingly, his first since 2009. Taking the title has elevated him to sixth place on this year’s Race to Dubai.
Blackstone Golf Club, Icheon, South Korea
Apr 28 – May 1, purse €2,205,000, par 72
1 Lee Westwood (Eng) 72 68 69 67 276 €367,500
2 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 70 67 69 71 277 €245,000
3 Sang-hyun Park (Kor) 67 72 70 69 278 €138,033
4 Dustin Johnson (USA) 70 69 71 69 279 €110,250
T5 Soon-sang Hong (Kor) 69 72 70 69 280 €85,334
T5 Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 69 67 74 280 €85,334
T7 Jbe Kruger (RSA) 73 70 69 69 281 €56,889
T7 James Morrison (Eng) 69 69 72 71 281 €56,889
T7 Brett Rumford (Aus) 71 63 73 74 281 €56,889
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only