Westwood continues his fine form to lead St Jude

AFTER setting a course-record 63 at TPC Southwind to lead the St Jude Classic at the end of the first round on Thursday, in-form world No3 Lee Westwood remained handily placed after seven holes of his second round yesterday.

The Englishman's seven-under-par opening round at the par-70 course gave him a one-stroke clubhouse lead on Thursday night over Casey Wittenberg on six under.

But by the time he resumed yesterday, Westwood found himself usurped at the top of the leaderboard by American Charley Hoffman, who had compiled a scintillating five-under-par second round score in the morning to move a shot clear on eight under. But within four holes of his own second round, Westwood had carded a birdie to move alongside Hoffman.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Reflecting on his impressive first round at the Memphis course, which he was playing on for the first time, Westwood said: "Twenty-nine, that was a pretty good start. And 63 is always a good start. I couldn't be disappointed with that. It could have been better, but I'm not going to cry too much from missing from four feet on the last."

Westwood, who played next week's US Open venue Pebble Beach on Sunday and Monday ahead of the second major of the year, said he has not easily been fazed by the thought of playing new courses and he had had good experiences in those situations, not least at last November's Dubai World Championship when victory on the just-opened Earth Course made him the European Tour No1 as he topped the inaugural Race To Dubai rankings.

"It's been a long time since I played a course for the first time," he said. "I just played the Honda for the first time this year. I finished in the top ten. That was pretty good. Last year we all played the course at Dubai for the first time there. I was 23 under. I adjust fairly well, I think. You can play most courses if you hit it straight and close."

With the second round still in play last night, Robert Karlsson, DJ Trahan and Tim Petrovic were all a shot behind the joint leaders on seven under.

Padraig Harrington, who was two shots off the lead in third place after the first round, slipped back down the field after a two-over-par second round. But Rory McIlroy, who was six shots off the pace after the first round, surged into contention with a second-round four-under-par 66.