May 6 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lee Westwood is certainly among the list of contenders anytime he tees it up.
But the world No. 3 will be even more front-of-mind at THE PLAYERS Championship next week after closing with a 66 at Quail Hollow on Sunday. He tied for fourth in his last appearance at TPC Sawgrass in 2010, his third top-10 on the Pete Dye gem in nine previous starts.
"I'm playing solidly, aren't I, won last week (in Indonesia) and third in the Masters before that," Westwood said, answering his own question. "I played well this week aside from some putts, and next week is a golf course I love playing. It suits my game.
“I've been in with a chance two or three times around there, so yeah, I'm looking forward to next week."
Westwood's round on Sunday included a course-record-tying 30 on the front nine. His momentum slowed on the back nine, though, as Quail Hollow began to show its teeth.
"It was a great front nine, wasn't it, put me in with a chance of winning the tournament," Westwood said. "There's some brutal flags out there on that back nine, and it's been tough. Wind is swirling a little bit, and the greens are just getting faster. Yeah, you'd like to attack around this golf course, but it just won't allow it sometimes."
Westwood will take a new caddy, Cayce Kerr, with him to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for the PGA TOUR’s signature event next week. His regular looper, Billy Foster, injured his knee at the caddy soccer game on Monday so Kerr stepped in. The experience the two gained at Quail Hollow was important.
"My caddie is getting to know me and getting used to my game a little bit, as well, which is nice," Westwood said. "It was important to birdie one of the last three on Friday to make the cut and give my caddy a couple more days to get used to my game. Obviously next week is a big week, and clubbing around there doesn't get any easier, so it's good we have the next two days."