The Telegraph

Lee Westwood’s Masters dream dies earlier than it will get going after wayward first-round 78

Was it the decision to swap in son Sam for fiancee Helen Storey on the bag? Did taking part in with defending champion Dustin Johnson by some means unnerve him? Maybe the choice to relaxation up final week robbed him of momentum? No matter it was, after all of the hype, the hope, the unbelievable type within the build-up, there was one thing significantly merciless about watching Lee Westwood labour his method round Augusta on Thursday. Again-to-back runner-up finishes on the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Gamers final month, which had propelled him again into the world’s prime 20, had given rise to hopes that Westwood may really break his main duck this week. The Masters has all the time suited his sport and placid temperament. As an alternative, a disastrous first-round 78 threatens Westwood’s presence in any capability this weekend, not to mention any likelihood of contending on Sunday. It was merciless as a result of it was so sudden. This genuinely felt prefer it might have been Westwood’s time. Ought to have been his time. In fact, the percentages had been closely stacked in opposition to him. Jack Nicklaus, at 46, stays the oldest ever winner of the inexperienced jacket. Westwood will probably be 48 later this month. And whereas Augusta has been recognized to provide its fair proportion of feelgood tales down the years, that is no nation for outdated males. Notably in its current, cruel state. Masters 2021: Tee occasions for second spherical, learn how to watch on TV and newest odds However such has been Westwood’s type, and so typically has he positioned effectively on the Masters (the 47-year-old was runner-up to Phil Mickelson in 2010, third in 2012 — two pictures out of the play-off received by Bubba Watson — and runner-up once more to Danny Willett in 2016), it felt a secure guess that he would put a tidy spherical or two collectively. It took simply three holes for the bubble to burst. After missed birdie alternatives at one and two — how completely different may it have been had a type of very makeable putts dropped — a double-bogey six on the third, by which Westwood selected to play iron off the tee, for the additional management, solely to seek out the bushes on the fitting, was the primary signal that this was going to be a grind. Westwood would hit a department making an attempt to flee, earlier than three-putting when he did lastly attain the inexperienced. From there, issues quickly went downhill. Bogeys at 5, seven and 9 noticed Westwood attain the flip in 40, with a solitary birdie on the par-five eighth the one crumb of consolation as son Sam appeared on aghast.

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