Westwood bags an ace – thanks to his girlfriend
With 17 holes-in-one already in his locker, Lee Westwood arrived at the par-three eighth at Carnoustie knowing exactly what it would take to record No18. However, he only achieved the milestone thanks to the advice of his girlfriend.
Helen Storey has been a parttime caddie to Westwood for the past few years, but the deal has always been that the former world No 1 works out the yardages and “makes the difficult decisions”. Yet as he dithered over clubs on his teeshot on his penultimate hole of the first round of the Dunhill Links, the fitness consultant from Newcastle decided it was finally time to intervene.
“Helen told me, ‘Six [iron] looks better – it’s closer to the yardage’,” Westwood said. “It was 189 yards and as it was downwind I thought it was seven [iron]. But the wind just dropped when I was over the ball, so I stood off it. I’m just glad we made the correct choice eventually.”
This was Westwood’s second ace in competition this year, having accomplished the same feat against countryman Tyrrell Hatton in the WGC Matchplay in Austin in March.
Westwood’s 69 put him six off the pace set by Justin Walters, but the South African compiled his nine-under magnificence on the Old Course at St Andrews.
Another Englishman, 26-yearold Jordan Smith, is in a group on eight under, with Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood two further back after pair of 66s, also at Carnoustie.
Hatton has won this event twice and is clearly confident of capturing the £680,000 first prize for the third time in four years. “I guess this time of year I play well,” Hatton said. “I didn’t play that well today, but I scored well. Hopefully I can hit it better tomorrow at Kingsbarns and keep holing putts.”
Hatton’s Ryder Cup team-mate Fleetwood is also a specialist in the Dunhill, although he is still waiting to pick up the trophy following two second-place finishes. “I’d love to have this event on my CV,” Fleetwood said, following a round featuring seven birdies and a bogey.
Justin Rose is on four-under, while world No 2 Rory Mcilroy shot his own 69 that included a doublebogey on “Hogan’s Alley”, Carnoustie’s par-five sixth. Mcilroy missed the “alley” up the narrow left side with his drive, watching it catch a gust and sail out of bounds.