April 12, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Lee Westwood is playing in his 15th Masters. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Looking for the best player who has yet to post a major championship on his resume?
Well, Lee Westwood is a pretty good candidate with eight finishes of third or better since he missed that playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open by a single shot.
Don't look now but the 40-year-old Englishman has given himself another opportunity to end that drought at the Masters after Saturday's 70 moved him into the mix at 2 under.
Westwood, who made four birdies and dropped just two strokes to par in the third round, was second in the 2010 Masters. He has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National, either.
"Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around," Westwood said. "And I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I'm maybe not on my game. But I've hit the ball well this week and that's why I'm in contention."
He also was runner-up at The Open Championship in 2010, and Westwood has a total of six third places, most recently at Muirfield last year. Since 1934, no one has more top-three finishes without a win than Westwood -- Colin Montgomerie and Doug Sanders being the closest to him with six.
One of the keys for Westwood on Saturday was the way he played the par 5s. He did not birdie a single one in the first two days but was 4 under on them in the third round -- which Westwood called a "massive" improvement.
"The par 5s are no gimmes around here, but if you're going to shoot a low score then you've got to play them a couple under," Westwood said. "There's little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there.
"I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn't go in."
Asked whether he thought he had a realistic chance to win the Masters on Sunday, Westwood was firm.
"Oh, very much so, yeah, yeah," Westwood said. "Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. "... Even a good shot ... can drop shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens."