Lee Westwood celebrates emotional Nedbank Golf Challenge win
Last Updated: 11/11/18 6:52pm
An emotional Lee Westwood fought back the tears after ending his victory drought at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The 45-year-old Englishman clinched his first worldwide success since winning the Indonesian Masters in April 2015 in style by firing an eight-under 64 in the final round in Sun City.
That earned Westwood a three-shot cushion over Sergio Garcia and after making a confident par at the last he celebrated by hugging girlfriend Helen Storey, who has been carrying his bag this week after he gave long-time caddy Billy Foster the week off.
Westwood's 24th European Tour victory was assured when Louis Oosthuizen, who eventually finished third, failed to eagle the 18th and he spoke to Sky Sports immediately afterwards.
"I'm a bit emotional to be honest, you're never sure whether you're going to be able to do it again," he said.
"Until now my emotions felt really under control all day, which is what I've been working hard on. I was just trying to hit fairways, stick to my game plan and hit it in the right places.
"I've got a bit of a process I'm going through with my golf swing, I'm starting to see better shots; the seven iron into 17 is probably one of the best shots I've ever hit and it all just worked."
He later added: "I'm getting old, I did one for the old men today. You reach 45 and don't know what to expect. But I've always felt comfortable playing this golf course. This one is very special."
The highlight of Westwood's round was an eagle at the par-five second where he hit his second shot to around four feet, but he also holed a number of tricky putts, especially on the back nine as he came home in just 31.
"I was seeing the lines and I've been working on a few things with my putting, just trying to relax and have confidence in it," he said.
Westwood is set to have Foster back alongside him at next week's DP World Tour Championship, an event he has won in the past, but he now has an excellent record with his girlfriend as his caddy.
"It's been brilliant. She's caddied twice for me this year and we lost in a play-off in Denmark and we've won here. Might have to have a bit of a rethink, not least about who caddies for me, but our percentages!" he said.
Oosthuizen, who slipped to third place behind Sergio Garcia with a double-bogey at the 18th after bravely trying to make an unlikely eagle, had no excuses and paid tribute to Westwood.
"There's not much more I could have done more," he said. "I made good putts. I missed a few easier putts, but all in all I attacked when I wanted to attack and I pulled a lot of good shots off.
"Hats off to Lee the way he played today. Eight under around that golf course without a dropped shot is good golf."
Garcia had been chasing back-to-back wins and a wire-to-wire success after an opening 64, but had to settle for second place after a closing 70.
"I didn't have my A game, other than Thursday obviously, but I fought hard," Garcia said. "I'm thrilled for Lee. He had a bad Ryder Cup at Hazeltine [in 2016] and he struggled a little bit, but he's been playing much better this year.
"He's been knocking on the door for winning. I wish I would have won myself, but if not, obviously to see Lee do it is pretty nice."