Lee Westwood may not remember much about finishing fourth in the Open the last time it was staged at Royal Troon, but at least he has not lost his sense of humour.
“I can’t remember last week, never mind 2004,” Westwood told Press Association Sport. “I thought I’d led all the way and bogeyed the last.”
In fact, Westwood shot rounds of 68 and 67 over the weekend to surge through the field, meaning it cannot go down as one of the agonising near misses he has suffered in major championships.
The former world number one’s share of second in the Masters in April extended his unwanted record of top-three finishes without tasting victory to nine, while he was in contention for the US Open in June before slumping to a closing 80 playing alongside eventual champion Dustin Johnson.
“I’ve been playing well, solidly,” added the 43-year-old, who held a two-shot lead after 54 holes at Muirfield in 2013 before finishing third. “I had a nice finish at the Masters and have been in contention pretty much every tournament since so I am pleased.
“I’m going to keep working on the same things and then build on that for the Open. It was nice to play well in a bit of breeze (in the French Open) and have a bit of flight control - I don’t think it’s going to be flat calm at Troon.”
The 156-man field for Troon was completed via the Scottish Open on Sunday, with England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay securing the qualifying places on offer to players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 12.
Hatton birdied the last in a closing 69 to claim outright second behind Sweden’s Alex Noren.