Westwood confident ahead of US Open
Lee Westwood is heading to the US Open in a confident mood
Lee Westwood has flown to San Francisco with high hopes of making it three European wins in a row at the US Open.
Westwood warmed up for his tilt at following Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy by storming to a five-stroke victory at the Nordea Masters in Sweden - his third win in the event in three different decades, his 22nd on the European Tour and his 40th worldwide.
"I'll tee off on Thursday with a lot of confidence," said the 39-year-old world number three, who will play the first two rounds at the Olympic Club with Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, the only two players ahead of him on the rankings.
Westwood has been down this road before, though, and disappointment has followed. This will be his 57th attempt to win a major.
Back in 1998 his first win in America came a week before The Masters and he was only 44th at Augusta. Two months later he arrived at Olympic Club two weeks after capturing the English Open and finished in a tie for seventh, then he won at Loch Lomond before travelling on to Birkdale for The Open and was 62nd there.
In 2000 he triumphed in Sweden and on his next start a fortnight later was 15th at the USPGA Championship, while two years ago his second PGA Tour victory came in Memphis and seven days later he was 16th in the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Westwood, who has had top-three finishes in six of the last 10 majors he has played, could do no more than he did at Bro Hof, however, and the new irons and new putter he used for the week are likely to stay the clubs of choice in California.
He said: "I think they've earned the right to stay in. You're never too sure first time in the bag, but you don't win tournaments by five shots without playing really well. I missed a few short putts, but you just have to stay patient. Sometimes you don't have to do as much as you think."
It was the Worksop golfer's first win for a long while without Billy Foster as his caddie. He is out for the summer after injuring a knee in a football kickabout and Westwood praised the calmness of Kiwi stand-in Mike "Sponge" Waite.
Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher came second a week after being penalised a shot and fined Â£6,000 for slow play in Wales, while joint third were Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Swede Peter Hanson and Finn Mikko Ilonen. Garcia, Hanson and Ilonen are all in the US Open as well, but Fisher failed to qualify.