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April 6 2012

1:45 PM

Can Westwood turn lead into win?

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The good news for Lee Westwood: The first-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win the Masters 15 times. The bad news: Only once since 1985 has it happened with Trevor Immelman winning in 2008.

Still, Westwood, who teed off a few minutes ago with a one-shot lead, is in good position as he tries to win his first career major championship. Five of his last nine rounds at Augusta National have been in the 60s. Each of the last two years he’s played well in the second round, too, with a 67 last year and a 69 the year before (actually those are the only times he’s broken 70 in the second round here).

Westwood of course also has plenty of major experience on his side with a half-dozen finishes in the top 3 since the 2008 U.S. Open.

”They are both assets,” Westwood said. “I have been in this position a lot recently, in contention. I've done a lot of fitness work through winter and start of this year to strengthen up. This is a demanding golf course. It's mentally draining and physically draining.”

With conditions wet and windy, it could be even more so on Friday.

Mud was also an issue for several players in the opening round and with conditions again soft could be again.

But for Westwood it’s all about trying to finish what he started here.

“When you're in contention and you don't finish it off, you then go home and you assess what you did wrong and where you can improve,” he said. “I think the golf course suits my game. It was originally designed as a second-shot golf course. And my iron shots are one of the strengths of my game.”

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