Starts, stops at U.S. Open don't faze Lee Westwood

By Tod Leonard
Published on
Starts, stops at U.S. Open don't faze Lee Westwood

OAKMONT, Pa. -- Lee Westwood joked this week that he likes to "Rolls Royce" it at home in England with his golf now. Translated, that means that when he's off for a week he cruises up to the course and goes to the first tee without a warmup swing.

So the stops and starts of the weather-hampered first round of the U.S. Open didn't bother him a bit. Westwood finished his first round on Friday morning with a pair of birdies to shoot 3-under-par 67 at Oakmont Country Club. The 43-year-old was to start his second round early Saturday morning.

"I don't stiffen up or anything like that. Being the finely tuned athlete I am, you wouldn't expect would you?" Westwood said Friday, drawing chuckles from reporters.

Westwood jokes about a lot of things, but he is sternly serious about winning a major.

His first major.

Westwood has captured 23 European Tour titles and two PGA Tour championships, but in the majors has nine top-3 finishes in majors, including three runners-up.

His closest call in the U.S. Open was having a putt on the 18th hole to get into the playoff with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Westwood tied for 36th in the 2007 Open at Oakmont.

US OPEN: Leaderboard | Saturday's photos

"I've been playing really nicely, really looking forward to coming back to Oakmont," said Westwood, who has three top-10s in his last four starts, tying for second in the Masters. "I like the challenge. This golf course is certainly a challenge. It tests you mentally. I sort of picked up where I left off at the Masters and the last three weeks I played."

"I felt confident out there and hit a lot of good shots," he added. "I was shaping it both ways, which you need to do in U.S. Opens to get at a lot of the flags."

England nail-biter: Thursday was a doubly good day for Westwood. In the morning, England's national soccer team scored a goal in the 92nd minute to beat Wales 2-1 in the European Championship.

"I've got to be careful here because a lot of my mom's family are Welsh," Westwood said. "But I will say that I should not be biting my nails with 15 minutes left, thinking, can we get a winner against Wales?"

Summerhays surprises: Daniel Summerhays has been a cut-making machine on the PGA Tour this season, but he rarely shoots low. That's what made his second round so surprising. The 32-year-old shot 5 under on the back nine to notch the week's best score, 5 under 65, to get to 1 under for the tournament.

He was only two shots off Johnny Miller's course and U.S. Open record of 63.

Summerhays is the nephew of former PGA Tour player Bruce Summerhays. The Utah native is a journeyman on tour, having notched his only top pro victory in the Tour's 2007 Nationwide Children's Championship.

This season on the PGA Tour, Summerhays has played 18 times, making all but three cuts, with a top finish of a tie for 13th.