Westwood fires 64, takes lead in Stockholm
Stockholm, Sweden (Sports Network) - Lee Westwood fired an eight-under 64 on Thursday to establish a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the Nordea Masters.
In the final European Tour tuneup before the U.S. Open, the world No. 3 Westwood showed his form by carding eight birdies -- including five in his first nine holes.
The round got him to 12-under par 132, and Westwood is well ahead of the field heading into the final two rounds. Swede Peter Hanson (68), Lloyd Saltman (64) and Carlos del Moral (67) are three strokes behind at nine-under, while Richard Sterne (67) headlines a group tied for fifth at minus-eight.
This event runs Wednesday through Saturday to give players an extra day to travel to San Francisco for the season's second major. Westwood will head to the Olympic Club looking to break through for his first major title, having finished in the top-10 a total of 13 times.
Westwood earned his first European Tour title at this tournament in 1996, and notched a second victory in 2000. He is on pace for a third win after he took advantage of good morning course conditions, which Westwood said included minimal wind and pure greens.
He began the round at the 10th tee and recorded his first birdie at 12, then made another at the next hole. Westwood ran off three in a row from the 16th to make the turn at minus-nine.
The 39-year-old rolled in two more birdies at four and five, and ended his second round with another to enter the clubhouse as the runaway leader.
"I'm putting the ball well and rolling it nicely on the greens which gives you confidence," Westwood said. "I hit it pretty close so I gave myself a lot of chances."
Hanson's round included seven birdies, but only after he overcame a double- bogey at his second hole. He also recorded a bogey later in the round, and would have shared the lead with Westwood if not for those mistakes.
Still, he is in contention.
"I didn't strike the ball as well as I would have hoped and 68 was a good result," Hanson said.
Saltman kick-started his round with a double-eagle at the par-five 12th, his third hole. He holed a shot from 237 yards out that bounced seven feet from the cup and rolled in.
The Scot followed that up with a birdie before falling to a bogey, but didn't have another error. He carded four birdies during his front nine, including three in his final four holes.
Del Moral had just one mistake, a bogey at 17, while recording six birdies for a second consecutive round.
First-round leader Magnus A. Carlsson managed an even-par 72 and stayed at minus-seven. He shares 10th place with Chris Wood (66) and Richard Bland (70).
NOTES: Defending champion Alexander Noren shot a 66 to rebound from an opening-round 74 and make the cut...The 36-hole cut fell at one-under par 143.
06/07 14:16:17 ET