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Wednesday, 02 September 2009
The 3 Irish Open - Round One  (Getty Images)
The 3 Irish Open - Round One (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood has given himself a target for the rest of the season - win twice and become European Number One again.

Westwood is determined to end a spell of almost two years without a win and believes the Omega European Masters this week could be the perfect opportunity.

"I’m here for one reason and that is to try and win the Omega European Masters," Westwood said.

"If I win then the rest will take care of itself. There is no point in worrying about something that is a consequence of something else - in other words, playing well."

Westwood has done a lot of playing well again this year, but none of it has ended with him holding a trophy.

A final hole bogey denied him a play-off in The Open Championship and at last month's US PGA Championship he was third again, jointly with Rory McIlroy, his playing partner the next two days at Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps.

The 20 year old Northern Irishman is currently third in The Race to Dubai and victory this weekend would take him above Martin Kaymer - out for at least another month after breaking a foot go-karting - and Paul Casey.

But Westwood is only one spot behind his stablemate and has his sights on being Europe’s leading money earner for the first time since 2000.

He also believes that next year could be the one when he finally breaks through in the Major Championships.

"I'm looking forward to them now that I know what I need to improve and work on to win one,” he added.

"They are just minute things and having been on Tour and playing the game at this level for the past 16 years I know that there is no next level so to speak.

"I just need to make small improvements here and there and that can make all the difference in four rounds of golf in a Major Championship."

So can fitness, and in that department he knows he has some work to do.

"I've been in Portugal the last two weeks and I think I've put on about half a stone – I daren’t get on the scales! I have to get back into the gym. I'm going to get back into that now, work out a lot over the winter and try to come out a bit leaner and stronger for next season."

The big difference in McIlroy is that he has finally had his hair cut, for the first time since just after his Dubai Desert Classic victory at the start of February.

That was his first European Tour win, but only because he made a mess of the Omega European Masters a year ago.

McIlroy led by three after an opening 63 and by four with a round to go, but missed a five foot par putt for victory on the final green and then from 18 inches at the second play-off hole to lose to Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin.

"My goal is certainly to go one better and I want to try doubly hard," said the youngster.

"It was tough to deal with, but I think it made me a stronger person and I learnt a lot. It was the catalyst for bigger and better things."

There have been plenty of those on both sides of the Atlantic. His World Ranking is now 24th, whereas entering this tournament 12 months ago he was 172nd.

He is also part of history this week in the first co-sanctioned event between the European and Asian Tours to be staged in Europe. 35 of the 156-strong field are members of the Asian Tour.

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