“I played well,” said Westwood. “I didn’t make the best of starts bogeying the par five tenth, the first hole of the day, but fortunately that didn’t set the tone for the day. I hit it really well and hit it close a lot.
“I had to be patient because I was hitting good putts and they weren’t going in. I holed one from about eight feet on my 16th, 25 feet on the second last hole and a nice 15 footer with a bit of curl on the last.
“It was a good round of golf in tricky conditions. It’s obviously very hot and you have to keep hydrated. The course is soft so it’s playing its longest, and the greens are firm – it’s testament to how good the construction of the greens are when you consider the rain we’ve had over the past couple of days.
“I played well in Houston the week before the Masters and used that momentum going into the Masters. I played well last week in finishing seventh, and I was happy to carry that on today.”
Belgian Colsaerts had eight birdies and two bogeys in his round of 66, while Lee made a blistering start with six birdies in his first eight holes, and remained on that mark with seven holes to play.
Recent NH Collection Open winner Marco Crespi and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey were a shot further back on five under.