If it wasn’t clear that Westwood was in rare form before the start of Saturday’s third round, then it certainly was at the end. He has always been a good driver of the ball and a good iron player. His weakness has sometimes been on the greens but here, using the claw method he adopted late last year after working with putting guru Phil Kenyon, this department of his game was working well too. On Saturday he played two magnificent strokes with a hybrid club that were out of the top drawer – his second on the par-5 eighth, a stroke of 266 yards that ended within 3 feet of the flagstick to set up an eagle and one of 256 yards with the same club to the 18th green, setting up a birdie. In his rounds of 69, 68, 65 and 67 to finish 19-under par, Westwood had the fewest bogeys of any player, on a long and difficult Abu Dhabi Golf Club course.
Westwood’s 25th victory in 27 seasons and 554 events on the European Tour made him only the second man to achieve stroke-play victories on that tour in four different decades. He was projected to jump to 29th in the world, which means he can plan his schedule for the next three months with a degree of certainty that hadn’t been present before. He also has made an important move towards making his 11th Ryder Cup appearance as a player.
RESULTS | RACE TO DUBAI