Westwood’s Asian love affair continues with top five finish, Foster 52nd in Malaysia

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Lee Westwood’s love affair with Malaysia continued last weekend, as he picked up a top five finish at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The Worksop golfer had tasted victory twice before in the event, in 1997 and 2014, and was only five shots shy of a third title at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Last year he won the title seven shots ahead of the field and this year he was going into the event in good form.

The 41-year-old joined Kiradech Aphibarnrat and David Lipsky for the first two rounds, and carried his momentum from the Dubai Desert Classic into this tournament.

Westwood tied for lead with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell on six under par following a round of 66, with seven birdies and a bogey.

He followed that with a five under par second round, the 67 including six birdies and a bogey – his birdie at 10 coming after his eagle attempt clipped the pin.

Going into the weekend Westwood was still tied for the lead, this time alongside Alejandro Canizares on 11 under par.

He was happy with his golf going into Saturday’s play: “I played nicely again.”

“I felt comfortable out there, hit a lot of fairways, hit some good iron shots and made some good putts.”

“I probably only hit one poor shot all day, from the middle of the fairway on the fifth hole – I was going in with a five iron and blocked it right into the water.”

He credited his ability to adapt to the humidity, and his previous experience of golf in the region as advantageous.

“You have to battle through the conditions in the afternoon,” he said.

“It’s like playing in a sauna but you come to expect that playing in Asia and I’m used to it. It obviously suits me.”

The third round saw Westwood tee off at 10am local time in a group with Canizares and Bernd Wiesberger.

Three birdies on the back nine led to a solid three under round of 69 for Lee but that was only good enough for a tie for third place on 14 under par, three strokes adrift of leader Weisberger.

On Sunday Westwood went out in the penultimate group with Anirban Lahiri and Paul Peterson.

But he was three over on the final day, taking a double bogey at the second, finishing with a share of fifth on 11 under par.

Lahiri took the title on 16 under.

His fellow Worksop golfer Mark Foster finished the event in 52nd position, two over par.

Foster began well with a one under par 71, and was level par for his second round.

But a 74 on Saturday was followed by another 72, leaving him in 52nd with five other golfers.

The 39-year-old has made the cut in his last three events, and earned over €30,000 in prize money.

Foster plays in the True Thailand Classic this weekend, while Westwood returns to action on 26th February at the Honda Classic in Florida.