Lee Westwood leads but plays down Ryder Cup pick

Lee Westwood. Pic: Getty Images
Lee Westwood. Pic: Getty Images
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Lee Westwood reiterated that he will be happy to keep his role as a Ryder Cup vice-captain later this month even if he wins the final counting event for playing spots.

The 45-year-old, who has played in ten matches in a row against the Americans, downplayed the possibility of him forcing his way into the frame for a wildcard in Paris despite earning a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Made in Denmark event.

Westwood, who is due to be on Thomas Bjorn’s backroom team at Le Golf National along with Robert Karlsson, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald, reeled off five birdies in a row at Silkeborg to storm three clear of the field with four to play.

A double-bogey at the last left him on 16-under-par after signing for a 67, with two of his compatriots, Jonathan “Jigger” Thomson and Steven Brown, leading the chase along with Belgian Thomas Detry heading into the final round. “Thomas doesn’t want an old man like me playing, he wants the young kids in,” insisted Westwood when asked about the Ryder Cup, with Bjorn set to name his four wildcards on Wednesday. “I’ve played ten and I know when my game is really on song ready for the Ryder Cup and I think there are more people deserving of a pick than me.”

Another Englishman, Matt Fitzpatrick, kept alive his hopes of securing the last of eight automatic spots with a 66 to move to joint-13th on 10-under. However, he needs to win, as does Eddie Pepperell, who slipped to joint-61st after a 74, to jump above Thorbjorn Olesen, who just made the cut but is up to 30th after a 67.

Richie Ramsay (68) and David Drysdale (70) are sitting joint-23rd on eight-under, a shot ahead of Stephen Gallacher (68), as the Scottish trio all bid to make jumps in the Race to Dubai. Ramsay and Drysdale are currently outside the all-important top 110 while Gallacher is sitting 89th.