Lee Westwood hopes to put on a show in the Ballantine’s
Championship this week as the first No. 1-ranked golfer to play in
Westwood reclaimed the top ranking from Martin Kaymer when he
won the Indonesian Masters by three strokes in Jakarta on Sunday,
his 38th birthday. Fellow Englishman Luke Donald could have
overtaken Westwood hours later at the Heritage, but lost the U.S.
PGA Tour event in a playoff.
”It’s nice to get back to No. 1. I played well last week and my
confidence is high,” Westwood said on Tuesday.
”I’ve great expectations of myself and I hope to do well and
win this championship on Sunday afternoon. I’m very much looking
forward to the tournament and hopefully I’ll give the galleries
plenty to cheer about in the coming days.”
Westwood shot 68-66-66-69 on Royale Jakarta for his seventh win
in Asia, and was keen to pull off consecutive wins.
”The world rankings are all about consistency and playing well
week-in and week-out, which I tend to do,” he said. ”The secret
to being world No. 1 is having the consistency, and all parts of
your game have to be good to do that.”
The Ballantine’s, co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours
and the Korean PGA, has moved from Jeju Island to Blackstone Golf
Club in Icheon, outside Seoul but will feature its strongest field
Local hopes for a first Korean winner are carried mainly by Y.E.
Yang, the 2009 U.S. PGA champion.
”My message to my Korean fans is this: I don’t play that often
in Korea,” said Yang, who hails from Jeju.
”I come maybe every six months, in spring and autumn, and I
think the best way to reward them is a win. I always try to do my
best whenever I compete and I’ll do the same again this week.”
Also entered are Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez,
2009 winner Thongchai Jaidee, and highly rated Korean Noh
Seung-yul, 19, who finished fourth in 2010 and went on to become
the youngest winner of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
Els has finished in the top 10 in the past two Ballantine’s.
”They get a number of really good players, so if you can win,
you’ve beaten a really good field,” Els said. ”I would love to
win, especially on a new course.”
The defending champion was Marcus Fraser of Australia.