Golf

Westwood loses hope at British Open

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LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England (AP)

Lee Westwood needed a fast start and some nasty weather to move into contention at the British Open.

He got neither.

Not even playing alongside golfing great Tom Watson could inspire Westwood as the No. 3-ranked player struggled to 1-over 71 in glorious morning conditions at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, for 4-over 214.

It's been a hugely disappointing week for Westwood, who was heavily tipped to end his major drought here with the course set-up appearing to suit his usually accurate game.

However, after rounds of 73 and 70, he set out in the second grouping at 8.20 a.m. local time and immediately found himself in trouble by bogeying three of the first six holes.

''Not hitting the ball great ... nothing's been that good this week,'' the 39-year-old Westwood said.

The U.S. PGA Championship at Kiawah Island will be his next opportunity to win a major at the 60th time of asking.

Watson, an eight-time major winner, is a big fan of Westwood and believes his time will come on the biggest stage after so many near misses.

''I wish I could have inspired him with my play, I think I dragged him down,'' said the American, who made the cut by birdying No. 18 on Friday but shot a 76 the following day.

''He will be there again, I expect him to win a major championship. He has a lot of talent, has a variety of shots, and hits the ball with authority.''

Westwood said Friday that the wind would have to come to his rescue this weekend if he was to have any chance of hauling back the leaders. He teed off at the par-3 first in still, sunny conditions.

By the time he tapped in for bogey at No. 18, he was 14 shots behind overnight leader Brandt Snedeker.

Westwood said shooting a third straight round in the 70s didn't stop him enjoying his round with Watson, who the Englishman first played with in the Dunlop Phoenix in 1996.

''Very easy to play with,'' Westwood said. ''He's a great ambassador for the sport.''

Tagged: Tom Watson, Lee Westwood

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