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May 3 2013

3:24 PM

Westwood: Beware the ailing golfer

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lee Westwood is battling a chest infection but you wouldn't know it from the way he played on Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Westwood made six birdies and two bogeys on the way to a 68 that left him in a tie at 6 under, which was one shot off the lead held by Scott Gardiner when the morning wave finished the second round at Quail Hollow.

He said he wasn't sick enough to consider withdrawing, though -- not at a tournament where he tied for fifth a year ago. The occasional ailing green didn't scare him off, either.

"I like this golf course way too much," Westwood said. "It's a lot of money that we're playing for and a title at the end of the day. Somebody's going to say a speech and thank everybody and thank the greens keeper and Wells Fargo for putting up the cash at the end of the week, and somebody's going to be happy with the way the course is set up."

And the way Westwood see it, that somebody might as well be him. The Englishman, who turned 40 last week -- "We had a good party from what I can remember and people keep telling me," he reported, has posted top-10s in his last two starts, including a tie for eighth at the Masters.

Friday's round brought more of the same steady play. He hit nine fairways and 15 greens in regulation, using a total of 28 putts. Westwood's entire group played well, in fact -- Lucas Glover shot 71 and stands 5 under while Zach Johnson is 4 under after a 72.

"Certainly helps when everybody in the group is playing well," Westwood said. "You're seeing good shots all the time, and you get the feeling that the course is giving up birdies and isn't playing quite as hard as it might be."

The 68 marked the third time Westwood had broken 70 at Quail Hollow in his last four rounds. His 12 previous had all been 71 or higher so the Englishman appears to have figured things out.

"I guess you get rewarded for hitting it straight and penalized for missing it off line," he said with a shrug "Normally the greens are very firm. You have to think your way around and position the ball. This week you can be a little more aggressive because it is softer."

When he finished, though, the ailing Westwood was only looking for a soft mattress or plush couch.

"I just won't do too much practice this afternoon," he said. "I'll just go back to the room and lie down, really."

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