Lee Westwood found himself invited to a bull fight in Marbella tomorrow evening, but the Ryder Cup star could be busy picking up the winner’s cheque at the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia instead.
Westwood went into today’s third round at Aloha Golf Club just two shots behind stablemate Louis Oosthuizen after a course-record 64 in the second round.
And as much he would have liked to accept a local journalist’s offer of an evening at the bullring, the 34-year-old would no doubt prefer to be claiming his 17th European Tour title and first since October 2003 tomorrow night.
Changing putters after the first round was the catalyst for Westwood’s charge up the leaderboard, the world number 63 firing eight birdies in a flawless round to move into a share of fifth place alongside 1996 US Open Steve Jones.
“I used it in the first round of the US Masters and swore I’d never use it again, but it seems to roll the ball well on these greens and anything would have been better than yesterday,” Westwood explained. “I don’t think Thursday’s putter is going to be seen for a while!
“My long game has been pretty good all year and I just haven’t been able to match it up with a decent putting round so it was nice to get it right. I went cross-handed, which is something I’ve not done for years, and felt a lot more comfortable on the greens.
“I couldn’t tell you the last time I used the same putter for an extended period of time. I’d say there’s about 200 in the garage. PING will be ringing me up to get some of them back now.
“I’ve even got about six belly putters of varying length, depending on my ’size’ shall we say,” added Westwood.
Oosthuizen held a one-shot lead over Australian Matthew Zions, France’s Francois Delamontagne and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who remains on course for two victories in seven days following his Italian Open triumph on Sunday.
“I didn’t feel like I was hitting the ball well but I holed some crucial putts and recovered well when I hit a bad shot,” Oosthuizen said after his second consecutive 67.
“I don’t think I’ve ever led a European Tour event and I’m happy with how things went. I feel I’m getting things together.”