US Masters: Lee Westwood a good each-way bet for Augusta
Lee Westwood finished the Shell Houston Open with a solid 70 to set himself up perfectly for an assault on the Masters – but odds of 25/1 show just how tough winning it will be for him.
The Englishman roared into contention for the Houston Open on Saturday following a brilliant 67 but couldn’t quite capitalize on the final day, finishing five shots behind the eventual winner, American D.A. Points.
It bodes well for Augusta though and, with Westwood showing solid form over the Georgia course in recent years, there will be plenty of punters willing to back him.
He finished tied third in the Masters last year – two shots behind winner Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen who he defeated in a play-off – and ended in second place back in 2010.
However, there hasn’t been a European winner on the green, green grass of Augusta since Jose Maria Olazabal won his second title in 1999 and, with Tiger Woods now back to his best, Westwood will have a tough time ending that run himself.
The main cause for concern is, and always has been, his putting.
Tee to green Westwood is as good and consistent as any golfer in the field but his inability to get the ball in the hole has held him back from winning a major on several occasions.
He is currently ranked just 115th in the world for strokes gained putting this season (compared to Woods who is first) and last term he was just 174th.
He will need to putt better than that around the treacherous Augusta greens if he is to have any chance to win the first Green Jacket of his career but there is still every chance of a high finish for Westwood.
While backing him for a win may be a touch on the optimistic side, his ball striking over the weekend and his recent record in majors – he’s finished third or better in every major since 2009 – means backing him each-way could yield a very decent pay out.