Sunday, 21 July 2013
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood allowed himself a few minutes to dream about lifting the Claret Jug before refocusing on the task at hand in The Open Championship.

Westwood will take a two shot lead into the final round at Muirfield, meaning Tiger Woods will have to make history to win his 15th Major and deny the Englishman his first at the 62nd attempt.

The 40 year old carded an eagle and three birdies in a round of 70 that left him top of the leaderboard on three under par, with Woods (72) and fellow American Hunter Mahan (68) the only other players in red figures on one under.

"I'll think about winning The Open Championship tonight at some stage, I'm sure," said Westwood, who could make it back-to-back Major wins by an English player for the first time since 1909 after Justin Rose claimed the US Open last month.

"I don't see anything wrong with that - picture yourself holding the Claret Jug and seeing your name at the top of the leaderboard.

"But when it comes time to tee off tomorrow I should be in the same frame of mind as I was today. I didn't feel any pressure today and felt nice and calm out there and in control of what I was doing."

Westwood also held the 54-hole lead at the Masters Tournament in 2010 and shot a closing 71, only to be overhauled by Phil Mickelson's final round of 67.

"I thought I played nicely that day at Augusta, but Phil played great," he added. "Sometimes you play well and someone plays better. I know what to expect tomorrow.

"I know what to do. I know what it takes. It's just a case of believing you are good enough to win. When you analyse it, you don't want to say it, but tomorrow is just another 18 holes. I'm playing well and putting well and there's no reason why I can't carry on.

"I have had lots of chances. I could have won four with the right things going my way. They are the things you feed off. You try to learn from the things you did wrong and put them into practice."

Westwood finished second in The Open Championship in 2010, but was seven shots behind Louis Oosthuizen and his best chance of victory came a year earlier at Turnberry, when he three-putted the 72nd hole believing he needed a birdie, only to again fall short of a play-off - between Tom Watson and Stewart Cink - by a shot.

"I had a chance at Turnberry that I messed up a bit that I can fall back on, getting out of the zone and focusing too much on what other people are doing," Westwood added.

Westwood believes moving to Florida last winter has been hugely beneficial for his game, especially working on his putting with new neighbour Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 Open Champion.

"Little did I know when I moved to Florida that I was acclimatising for The Open in Scotland," he joked. "I'm just too smart for myself.

"Obviously it would be daft to move the whole family to Florida for four tournaments (the Majors); I wouldn't do that. But I'd hoped that living in that kind of climate and having access to great golf courses and faster greens and stuff like that was going to help my game.

"And so far this year the big tournaments, the Masters, The Players, the US Open and the PGA Championship at Wentworth, I've contended in all of them and now the Open Championship."

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