Lee Westwood is entering The Open Championship optimistic he can contend as he hopes to have cleared the "mental block" he had at Royal St George's.

The 48-year-old fell away from a promising position at the Scottish Open last week but is confident his game is in a good place.

Westwood missed the cut in 2003 and 2011 when the tournament was last played at the Kent links, but he has attempted to banish those memories for the last major of 2021.

"Coming into this week, I've played here twice in the Open Championship, missed the cut both times," he said.

"Kind of had it in my head, a bit of a mental block that I didn't like the golf course, but I played it [on Tuesday] and really enjoyed it. 

"I loved the way it was set up. I couldn't really remember the golf course too much, probably because I didn't have that much experience of playing on it, only having played two rounds each Open. 

"I really enjoyed it. Enjoyed the conditions and it sort of turned my head around and made me look forward to the week even more really. 

"I'm positive and hoping I can find some form and get into contention. Like all links tournaments, you need a little bit of luck with the weather, you need some good breaks.

"I did win around here as an amateur, so I've had some kind of form around here in the past. I'm just trying to look at it more positively than I've missed two cuts. 

"There will be underlying facts there; I might not have been playing well or my head might not have been in the right place. 

"I feel like if I get my game where it needs to be and it's good for that week, I can contend."

Phil Mickelson won the US PGA Championship to become the oldest major champion at the age of 50 this year.

Westwood was therefore asked if that meant he still had hope of winning one as he prepares to make his 88th major appearance.

He said: "We're from a generation that's maybe had the benefit of sports medicine and maybe a little bit more analytical, knowing what's going on. 

"Tiger [Woods] came on the scene and everybody sort of took that a little bit more seriously mid to late '90s. All the other players that wanted to get ahead of the game sort of looked to him.

"Rather than [golf being an] 'I've been working out for six months thing' and 'this is a quick-fix thing', it's a long-term thing with the likes of myself and Phil, Stewart Cink, people like that playing.

"Look at Bernhard Langer – he's playing well into his 60s because he's looked after himself 30 years ago, not because he started going in the gym three weeks ago. 

"Mine and Phil's generation are now reaping the benefits of the hard work for the last 20 years, analysing movements in the swing and working on injury prevention to those parts of the body that get injured."

Justin Rose mounted a back-nine recovery to finish his second round with a two-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and Marc Leishman.

Rose shot a sublime opening round of 65 at Augusta, but relinquished his four-shot advantage on Friday before returning to the top of the leaderboard with three birdies in his space of four holes.

The Englishman was the man to catch on seven under when he signed for a level-par 72, rallying after bogeying four of the first seven holes in his second round.

Gains at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes gave Rose momentum heading into the weekend as he bids to don the green jacket for the first time.

The in-form Spieth surged into a share of second place with Australian Leishman by carding a four-under 68, with birdies proving easier to come by for the field than on the opening day.

Three-time major champion Spieth, on a high after ending a title drought stretching back to 2017 at the Texas Open last weekend, made four of his five birdies after the turn and only dropped one shot at the 12th.

Leishman also made a significant move, setting the tone by starting with three birdies in row and going on to shoot a five-under 67.

Scintillating six-under rounds of 66 from Bernd Wiesberger and Tony Finau put them just three shots adrift of Rose along with Justin Thomas, who shot a 67.

Will Zalatoris, Brian Harman and Si Woo Kim were also well poised on four under, with their rounds still in progress. Defending champion Dustin Johnson had work to do back on three over through 10.

Bryson DeChambeau responded to a poor opening round with a 67 of his own to sit at one over, while Brooks Koepka (+5) and Rory McIlroy (+6) were facing a battle to make the cut 10 and eight holes into their rounds respectively.

Lee Westwood was a couple of shots below the projected cut mark on five over midway through his round.

Justin Rose surged into a four-shot lead as Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau were among the big names to endure first-round struggles at The Masters.

Rose was two over through seven holes in tough scoring conditions, with quicker and firmer Augusta greens proving a much bigger challenge than when Dustin Johnson won the tournament with a record score of 20 under last November.

The Englishman sparked into life with an eagle at the par-five eighth hole and lit up the back nine to card a magnificent seven-under 65, the lowest Masters round of his career, with patrons allowed back in under blue skies.

Rose, eyeing a maiden Masters title, got on a roll with seven birdies in nine holes before finishing with a composed par to retain his four-stroke advantage.

Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama shared the early clubhouse lead with impressive three-under opening rounds of 69 before Rose stormed clear.

Defending champion Johnson shot a two-over 74 following a double bogey at the 18th, having made a bogey-birdie start before getting in the red for the first time at 13.

Masters debutant Will Zalatoris, Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Patrick Reed will start their second rounds on two under following encouraging starts, while new father Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele are among a clutch of players at level par.

McIlroy suffered a miserable opening round and is back on four over, facing a battle to make the cut rather than fight it out to complete a career Grand Slam, while U.S. Open champion DeChambeau was four over through 15.

Jordan Spieth was left to rue a triple-bogey after launching a wayward tee shot into the trees at the ninth but was in a share of eighth on one under after chipping in for an eagle at 15, while Justin Thomas was a further stroke back through 15.

Brooks Koepka matched Johnson's 74 just a few weeks after undergoing knee surgery and the previously in-form Lee Westwood is languishing on six over.

Tommy Fleetwood generated a roar from those fortunate enough to be at the 16th to see him make a hole-in-one before he signed for a 74.

The 85th Masters got under way on Thursday with Dustin Johnson waiting in the wings to defend his title at Augusta.

Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Elder signalled the opening of the 2021 tournament, which officially began with twosome Michael Thompson and Hudson Swafford teeing off.

Reigning champion Johnson, who secured his second major with an imperious victory in Georgia five months ago, will tee off at 10:30 local time (14:30 GMT) alongside two-time runner-up Lee Westwood and U.S. Amateur Championship winner Tyler Strafaci.

The world number one has earned top-10 finishes at each of his past five Masters outings and holds the tournament scoring record after his stunning 20-under 268 last November.

Johnson is aiming to become the first man since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002 to win consecutive green jackets.

Though Woods is absent as he continues his recovery from a recent car accident, Johnson will face stiff competition from the likes of Jordan Spieth.

The 2015 champion ended a 1,351-day wait for a PGA Tour victory at the Texas Open last week and will head out in the final group to tee off at 14:00 local time (18:00 GMT), along with US PGA Championship victor Collin Morikawa and Cameron Smith.

Rory McIlroy has a career Grand Slam in his sights and his bid to become the sixth golfer to achieve the feat begins with new father Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele for company.

The Northern Irishman is still waiting for a maiden green jacket but boasts a strong record in the event, having finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven editions.

Brooks Koepka will play with Bubba Watson and Viktor Hovland, while Bryson DeChambeau joins Adam Scott and Max Homa.

Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Louis Oosthuizen form another group, with Sergio Garcia starting alongside Webb Simpson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, while Patrick Reed will measure himself against Paul Casey and Daniel Berger.

Phil Mickelson, the man with the most major titles (five) in the field as Woods is absent, will appear alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Scottie Scheffler.

Reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson has been grouped with two-time runner-up Lee Westwood to begin his title defence on Thursday.

Johnson returns to Augusta just five months on from a dominant triumph, his second major triumph after the 2016 U.S. Open.

The world number one, who has finished in the top 10 in his past five Masters appearances, set a scoring record with his sensational 20-under 268 for the week back in November.

As Johnson aims to become the first man since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002 to win consecutive green jackets, he will start alongside Englishman Westwood and, as is tradition, U.S. Amateur Championship winner Tyler Strafaci.

The groupings and tee times were confirmed on Tuesday, with Johnson's trio going out at 10:30 EDT.

Jordan Spieth, who ended a 1,351-day wait for a PGA Tour victory at the Texas Open last week, will be in the final group to tee off at 14:00 EDT, along with US PGA Championship victor Collin Morikawa and Cameron Smith.

Rory McIlroy's latest bid to become the sixth golfer to claim a career Grand Slam sees him start straight after Johnson at 10:42 EDT.

McIlroy has finished in the top 10 at Augusta in six of his past seven appearances but is famously still waiting for a first victory, while his major drought stands at 22 events.

An intriguing group has the Northern Irishman playing alongside Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

Brooks Koepka will play with Bubba Watson and Viktor Hovland, while Bryson DeChambeau joins Adam Scott and Max Homa.

Justin Thomas has Tony Finau and Louis Oosthuizen for company, Sergio Garcia starts alongside Webb Simpson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, and Patrick Reed will measure himself against Paul Casey and Daniel Berger.

Phil Mickelson, the man with the most major titles (five) in the field as Woods is absent, will appear alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Scottie Scheffler.

Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Elder will get the tournament under way, with twosome Michael Thompson and Hudson Swafford the first competitors involved.

Matt Jones tied the course record as the Australian sizzled to earn a three-stroke lead after the first round of The Honda Classic.

Jones was flawless on day one, carding a nine-under-par 61 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on Thursday.

The 40-year-old, whose sole win on the PGA Tour came via the 2014 Houston Open, did not drop a shot as he birdied nine holes, including three in a row to close out the round.

Jones equalled the course record, while posting the lowest round of his professional career to top the leaderboard ahead of American pair Aaron Wise and 2014 champion Russell Henley.

Since 2007, there have been 6,202 rounds played at PGA National – Jones (10.49 in this year's first round) and Tiger Woods (10.12 in 2012 final round) are the only players to gain over 10 total strokes in a round.

"I play golf for a living," Jones said in response to his round. "I mean, I should be able to shoot a good golf score occasionally. It doesn't happen as much as I want.

"But yes, I'm very happy with it. I was very calm, I was very relaxed out there. I'm normally a bit more amped-up and hyped-up and I had a different goal this week, to be a little more calm than normally and walk slower."

Steve Stricker, Cameron Davis, Kevin Chappell, Scott Harrington and Joseph Bramlett are five shots off the pace heading into Friday's second round.

Defending champion Im Sung-jae opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a first-round 68, while former world number one and 2016 winner Adam Scott is a shot further back.

Following runner-up finishes in his last two starts on the PGA Tour – Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship – Lee Westwood opened his Honda Classic campaign with a 70.

Rickie Fowler, who won the tournament in 2017, is also even par alongside Westwood, while five-time major champion Phil Mickelson is a stroke worse off.

Justin Thomas claimed a one-stroke victory at The Players Championship after a run of three birdies and an eagle across four holes unseated overnight leader Lee Westwood on Sunday.

World number three and American star Thomas – fuelled by a four-under-par 64 – headed into the final round at TPC Sawgrass three strokes adrift of Westwood.

Westwood (72) had finished second at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, trailing Bryson DeChambeau (71), who was his nearest competitor again at the end of Saturday's play.

Westwood would be a runner-up once more, but this time was bested by Thomas, who stormed into the lead thanks to a frantic spell.

Westwood lacked momentum throughout his round and was back at 12 under – one over for the day – at the turn when Thomas took flight.

Thomas bogeyed the eighth but responded with a birdie at the ninth and suddenly found form.

He made three at the par-four 10th and then, with the day's decisive putt, claimed the lead outright with an eagle from 19 feet at 11. Another birdie at the next hole secured breathing space.

Although Westwood recovered to end the day as he started it, at 13 under, there was only a brief Thomas wobble with bogey at 14 followed by birdie at 16.

Thomas, who has a single major title at the 2017 US PGA Championship, claimed a maiden triumph at The Players and returned to the winner's circle for the first time since August's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

It is also Thomas' 14th PGA Tour triumph, becoming the fourth player since 1960 to win 14 times on Tour before turning 28 – joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

"I fought so hard today," said Thomas, who tied the lowest final 36-hole score in Players history with his 64-68 (132) over the weekend. "I stayed patient. It was probably one of the best rounds of my life, tee to green."

Brian Harman used a final-round 69 to finish tied for third alongside U.S. Open champion DeChambeau – two shots behind Thomas.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson (71) and Jason Day (73) were among the players to end the tournament 35th in the standings, 11 shots off the pace.

Dustin Johnson (71) – the world number one – climbed up into a tie for 48th at one under, a stroke better off than Jordan Spieth (75), who is still without a win since 2017.

In-form Englishman Lee Westwood remains in pole position heading into the final day of The Players Championship, holding a two-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau at TPC Sawgrass.

Westwood, who was runner-up at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, was even through nine holes on Saturday before coming home with four birdies on the back nine to finish the day with a four-under 68.

The 47-year-old is at 13 under, ahead of last week's winner DeChambeau (11 under), with the pair again set to joust it out for a title, this time the 'fifth major'.

"Round two," Westwood laughed after the third round, referencing another battle with DeChambeau.

Doug Ghim and Justin Thomas, who shot a 64 on Saturday, are in equal third at 10 under, with Paul Casey, Jon Rahm and Brian Harman a further shot back.

Westwood is in the box seat, having not dropped a shot since the 10th hole of the first round. He also nailed a 24-foot birdie putt on the island green 17th hole on Saturday.

"Westy is a fierce competitor and I look forward to the challenge, again, with him," DeChambeau said.

"His driving is impeccable, his iron play is impeccable and he makes putts when he needs to. Fortunately for me last week I was able to get the job done and I think tomorrow is going to be an incredible battle."

Last year's U.S. Open winner DeChambeau shot a five-under 67 in the third round to marginally close the gap on Westwood. He shot six birdies but bogeyed the 14th.

Thomas was the big mover of the day with his 64, birdieing the first four holes of the day, including holing a 20-foot putt on the first.

The American hit a 204-yard second shot to within seven inches of the pin to eagle the 16th, surging back into contention after being seven shots off the pace heading into the weekend.

"I wish all rounds were that easy," Thomas said. "I hit the ball beautifully, I drove it well, I hit a couple of squirrelly shots there at the end of the front nine, but the good part is that I knew why they were happening.

"I just know that I have to stay patient out here because you can make a lot of birdies and hitting driver well is helping."

Rory McIlroy admitted chasing Bryson DeChambeau's power cost him after the four-time major champion comfortably missed the cut at The Players Championship as Lee Westwood produced a flawless performance to lead the way.

DeChambeau's power play at last year's U.S. Open has changed golf for many across the PGA and European Tours, with former world number one McIlroy trying to add length to his game.

But defending Players champion McIlroy, without a win since 2019, missed the cut by 10 strokes on Friday – a second-round 75 adding to his opening 79 at TPC Sawgrass.

After another forgettable day, which included a double-bogey, three bogeys and two birdies, McIlroy explained his struggles, telling reporters: "Probably, like October last year, doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff, swing got flat, long and too rotational.

"Obviously I added some speed and am hitting the ball longer but what that did to my swing as a whole probably wasn't a good thing. So I'm sort of fighting to get back out of that. That’s what I'm frustrated with."

McIlroy added: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, 'Whoa, if this is the way they're going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps'.

"The one thing that people don't appreciate is how good Bryson is out of the rough. Not only because of how upright he is but because his short irons are longer than standard, so he can get a little more speed through the rough than us, than other guys.

"I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing and maybe just to the detriment a little bit of my swing, I got there. I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit."

Westwood had no such trouble during the second round – the Englishman using a six-under-par 66 to earn a one-stroke lead at nine under before darkness suspended play.

After finishing second at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Westwood roared to the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes via a dazzling round, which included six birdies and no bogeys.

It is the third time Westwood has led after two rounds at The Players Championship – in 2005 and 2010 – but he is yet to win.

The 47-year-old is a two-time PGA Tour champion, though his last success came in 2010.

Countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick (68) is a stroke off the pace, one shot ahead of Chris Kirk (65) and Sergio Garcia (72), who led after the opening round.

U.S. Open champion and Arnold Palmer Invitational winner DeChambeau posted a second-round 69 to be tied for fifth at six under.

World number one Dustin Johnson's second round in the 70s catapulted him up 22 positions into a tie for 36th, eight shots behind Westwood, while Jordan Spieth (74) is a stroke further back.

Xander Schauffele (74) was among the stars to miss the cut – the American's Tour-best streak of 23 consecutive made cuts coming to an end.

Lee Westwood roared to the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship as the in-form Englishman hit a dazzling 66 to reach nine under par.

After a second place last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 47-year-old gave another indication he could be a contender this weekend as he established the clubhouse lead.

Westwood has won twice on the PGA Tour, at the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic and 2010 St Jude Classic, and a third title would be a long time in coming.

His girlfriend Helen Storey is also his caddie, and Westwood spoke of her positive influence, calling it "very important".

"I'm a lot less serious and fairly light-hearted," Westwood said on the Golf Channel. "There's lot of smiling going on out there and in life in general.

"We're both having fun out there and not treating it too seriously. Obviously I try 110 per cent. I do all the work off the course, in the gym and a lot of stretching nowadays.

"But when I go out on the golf course I play carefree golf, just not worrying about the consequences and the outcomes.

"I think we all try and go out there and get into the zone, whatever it may be for all of us.

"The zone for me is to go out there and not really having anything going on - just getting the yardage, picking the clubs, seeing the shot and trying to do as good as I can on it."

A birdie at the last capped a bogey-free round for Westwood.

Rory McIlroy's faint hopes of making the cut were over long before he finished his second round, with the 2019 champion following his opening 79 with a front nine of 37 before a double bogey at the par-four 10th left no doubt he would miss the weekend.

McIlroy had been undone by a quadruple-bogey eight at the 18th hole in his opening round, which was far from the worst score on the course.

A day after hitting four balls into the water and making 11 at the par-three 17th, the famous island hole, South Korean Byeong Hun An found the green from the tee this time and went close to a birdie.

He rolled a 16-foot putt to the edge of the hole and tapped in for par, getting a warm reception as he put Thursday's nightmare behind him. Like McIlroy, however, his hopes of making the cut were already shot.

Bryson DeChambeau claimed his eighth PGA Tour title after reigning supreme at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

U.S. Open champion and big-hitting American star DeChambeau won by one stroke following his one-under-par 71 in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

DeChambeau was at his brilliant best as he tamed Bay Hill in a low-scoring final day in windy conditions.

After smacking a 377-yard driver over the lake at the sixth hole, DeChambeau held his nerve to drain a five-foot par for victory ahead of Lee Westwood (73) at 11 under.

"It's been quite a battle this entire time. I don't even know what to say. To win at Mr Palmer's event — it's going to make me cry," a teary DeChambeau said. "It means the world to me."

DeChambeau also singled out 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, who is recovering following a near-fatal single-car crash last week.

Woods holds the record for the most Arnold Palmer Invitational trophies with eight.

"He obviously had done really well here ... we just talked about keep fighting no matter what happened, play boldly like Mr Palmer did," DeChambeau said.

"My heart has been heavy with Tiger and what's been going on with him and I just kept telling myself 'it's now how many times you get kicked down it's about how many times you can pick back up and you keep going'. That's what I surely did out there today."

Canadian golfer Corey Conners finished third at eight under following his final-round 74, two strokes ahead of Andrew Putnam (71), Richy Werenski (73) and former world number one Jordan Spieth (75) – who is searching for his first win since 2017.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy ended the tournament in a tie for 10th, eight shots adrift of DeChambeau, after shooting a four-over-par 76.

Tyrrell Hatton – the defending champion – closed out his campaign with a final-round 77 to be 10 strokes behind the winner.

Lee Westwood surged into the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, who stole the show with a monstrous 370-yard drive on the sixth.

English 47-year-old Westwood shot a seven-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead at 11 under heading into the final day, sitting ahead of DeChambeau (68) and previous leader Corey Conners (71), who are tied for second.

Keegan Bradley shot a round-best eight-under 64 with his 59th career bogey-free round to move into equal fourth alongside Jordan Spieth (68) at nine under.

Westwood made his move with five birdies on the front nine on Saturday. He also hit an eagle on the 16th and a birdie on the challenging 18th..

"The first time I played here I felt 'this was good'," said Westwood, who has plenty of experience playing at Bay Hill.

"I like the way it makes you shape the ball into some of the fairways. It suits my game. I'm not the longest through the air anymore so it helps when I can use a lot of the fairway."

DeChambeau, who was the Invitational runner-up in 2018, had the crowds roaring on the 590-yard dog leg par-five sixth hole when he ambitiously succeeded in driving to clear the water in a 370-yard carry.

The 2020 U.S. Open champion shot a 68, including six birdies, but his monster drive was all the talk, having teased on social media that he would attempt it in the lead-up.

"I've never had so many people cheering me on to do something pretty cool," the American said.

"To have that opportunity and execute it was pretty special. Hopefully it's something I can do tomorrow again.

"I was definitely nervous. I caught it pretty solid. I didn't know how else to react."

Overnight leader Conners let slip his dominant position but remains in the hunt after two bogeys and three birdies for the round.

Early leader and 2018 Invitational winner Rory McIlroy slipped to equal seventh after an even-par round.

Doug Ghim drew level with McIlroy after an outstanding seven-under 65, with the duo joined at seven under by Jazz Janewattananond (69) and Richy Werenski (69).

Janewattananond made a hole-in-one at the 14th, while Spieth also produced an ace in the third round – his coming at the second.

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