Lee Westwood scores Christmas No. 1
Lee Westwood will end the year atop the world rankings after storming to victory in the elite 12-man Nedbank Golf Challenge.
And the 37-year-old ended his final round in style, chipping in for a birdie on the 18th to card a 68 and finish 17-under par, eight shots clear of home favourite Tim Clark.
Westwood sank five birdies on his way to the £792,000 (taylormade r7 cgb max driver) first prize and will join the winner of The X-Factor as Christmas number one, despite Tiger Woods’ best efforts in California.
Retief Goosen shot an impressive 68 to tie for third with Miguel Angel Jimenez at eight-under, while Ernie Els’ was three shots back to ensure there were three South Africans in the top five.
“I think that’s the first time I’ve chipped in all year,” he said. “It’s what you call a grandstand finish. It was a good time to do it.”
Els was joined on five-under by Ross Fisher, whose final-round 75 dropped him out of contention. Defending champion Robert Allenby and Padraig Harrington finished at three-under.
But this was the Lee Westwood show, and the Englishman’s stunning chip from (taylormade cgb max driver) well off the 18th green at the Gary Player Country Club provided a fitting finale to a week in which he showed exactly why he is now rated the best golfer on the planet.
The Nottinghamshire man went into the Sun City even knowing if he finished outside the top two, Woods could retain the world number one spot with victory at Thousand Oaks.
But Westwood did not give Woods a look-in, shooting three rounds in the sixties to make sure he was always in contention.
“I’ve been playing here for 15 years and it’s something I’ve always wanted to win,” he added. “The finish was tough and I was just pleased to get it done in the end (taylormade burner superlaunch irons).”
-17 L Westwood (68, 64, 71, 68)
-9 T Clark (73, 67, 68, 71)
-8 R Goosen (72, 70, 70, 68); MA Jimenez (69, 69, 71, 71)
-5 R Fisher (67, 68, 73, 75); E Els (71, 68, 71, 73)
-3 R Allenby (70, 70, 73, 72); P Harrington (66, 72, 72, 75)
-2 A Hansen (72, 70, 68, 76); J Rose (70, 72, 72, 72)
-1 E Molinari (71, 67, 73, 76)
+2 L Oosthuizen (71, 73, 72, 74)