Things are on the up for Lee

After one of the biggest wins of the European Tour season, Worksop's Lee Westwood is now thinking big.

At the start of this decade Westwood was European number one and ranked fourth in the world behind Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.

He then fell outside the top 250 in a nightmare slump but, having turned things right round again, believes he can reach those dizzy heights again.

Today's new ranking list should see back up to around 30th.

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A five-stroke victory over Ian Poulter in the British Masters at The Belfry yesterday was achieved with a brilliant closing 65, the round of the day by two.

"I would love to get back in the top five - and I think I can do it," said Westwood, 300,000 richer and the seventh player to top 10million in European Tour earnings.

"There's still a lot of the year left. I haven't looked at the Order of Merit for about six years, but I might have a look tonight."

The 34-year-old will find himself in 12th place, but if he can add the Dunhill Links championship in Scotland in two weeks' time - he was the 2003 winner - he could leap all the way into second spot behind Open champion Padraig Harrington.

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Five months ago Westwood had not won anywhere for four years, but he broke that barren spell in Spain and since Ryder Cup qualifying started three weeks ago he has finished sixth, sixth and now first.

Last year he needed a wildcard from Ian Woosnam to be part of the European line-up at the K Club.

He responded with a superb four points out of five, winning two emotional matches with Darren Clarke in the fourballs, halving twice in the foursomes with Colin Montgomerie as his partner and then beating Chris DiMarco in the singles.

Nick Faldo has now taken over as captain and while he might regret not having Westwood in his Britain and Ireland side taking on Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy in Ireland this week - Westwood qualified, but wants to rest - he will be delighted that one of Europe's star performers has begun the points race so well.

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Overnight leader Mark Foster, also from Worksop, empahasised the strength of English golf at the moment by completing a top three for the home nation with a final round 73.

It seemed half of Worksop Golf Club descended on Sutton Coldfield yesterday to cheer on fellow members Westwood and Foster.

"It felt like a real home game out there," said Westwood. "I can't ever remember getting a reception like that down the 18th hole before. It was fantastic. It has been a special day in so many ways. It is not often you get to play a round like that."

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