US PGA Championship: Flying start for Lee Westwood at Valhalla
Last Updated: 08/08/14 11:35am
England’s Lee Westwood set the early clubhouse target alongside American Kevin Chappell at the US PGA Championship.
Westwood, who is seeking his first major success, carded a six-under-par 65 in the first round at Valhalla, that was matched minutes later by Chappell.
The 41-year-old, who shot a closing 63 at Firestone Country Club on Sunday after missing the cut in his previous four events, looked to have squandered a good start when he covered the back nine in 33 only to run up a double bogey on the first hole.
However, he bounced back with a birdie on the fourth and rattled in four more in succession from the sixth, ending his round in style by holing from 40 feet on the ninth.
Westwood told Sky Sports: “Obviously I played very, very well on Sunday and I just wanted to keep that going.
“I have kept my practice very low key over the first three days – only played nine holes each day – and I was ready to go this morning and I played well.
“It wasn’t really that easy out there. You have still got to hit lots of fairways and there was a bit of breeze swirling around.
“They certainly put the pins out being wary of low scores – they tucked them and they were on top of a few slopes here and there - so you had to play well to shoot a low score.
“It’s a long golf course but it has dried out and it was playing a little bit shorter today. If you hit it in the fairways it is very scoreable.
“I putted nicely. I gave myself lots of chances and rolled the ball really nicely on the greens.”
Westwood is currently out of the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup and may have to rely on a captain’s pick from Paul McGinley for a place in the European team at Gleneagles.
However, he insists he is not even thinking about taking on the United States at this stage.
“I think Paul already knows what I have got,” he said. “I think this week is more about it being a major championship and trying to win a major championship and playing well this week.
“I have always felt like the Ryder Cup comes as a consequence of playing well and there is only ever any point thinking about the Ryder Cup when you have actually made the team.
“So I break it down bit by bit – I am not smart enough to focus on two things at once - and I am just concentrating on the PGA Championship and trying to win my first major.”