Lee Westwood feeling sharp ahead of Nedbank Challenge defence
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 12/11/19 1:55pm
Lee Westwood begins his defence of the Nedbank Golf Challenge with confidence renewed after posting his first top-10 finish since linking up with renowned coaches Robert Rock and Phil Kenyon.
Westwood started working with Rock at the BMW PGA Championship in September and he is also feeling the benefits of Kenyon's putting advice following a run of four missed cuts in five events after his impressive fourth-place finish at The Open in July.
The 46-year-old, who fired a sensational closing 64 to claim his first victory for four-and-a-half years at the Gary Player Country Club 12 months ago, recovered from a slow start to record his fourth top-10 of the year in Turkey last week, and he feels his all-round game is in "sharp" shape ahead of the penultimate event of the European Tour season.
"I started working with Robert Rock a few weeks ago, the week at Wentworth," said Westwood. "I wasn't hitting it very well and gradually over the last few weeks I've started to hit it better and better, and my ball flight's come back and distance control has come back.
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"I've been working with Phil Kenyon, as well, on the greens, and gone with the claw grip and rolled a few in last week. Just a combination of everything. I've sharpened everything up. I had a chance with five holes left last week, just hit a couple of poor shots coming in.
"I'm making these slight changes, so it's harder to do it on the golf course, especially when you're trying to win a tournament. I got a little too aggressive on a couple of holes but I was 18 under with five to play and had a sniff because 20 under was in a play-off.
"I was pleased with last week's performance after a slow first-round 71, so I can feed off that and gain some confidence from it."
Westwood also has plenty of positive memories to call on at the Gary Player Country Club having won four times at the venue, and he is relishing being a defending champion for the first time in a Rolex Series event.
"I always look forward to coming back to Sun City," he added. "It's a brilliant resort and great golf course. I've always done well around here, and brings back good feelings.
"It's nice to be back defending a tournament. It's tough to win these Rolex Series events, but I'm excited about playing well again. I played well in Turkey last week, and excited to get back on the golf course this week.
"I've won three Nedbanks, so if I get into contention, I'm going to know what to do because I've been in that situation before. You can really just feed off that."