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Signs of form returning for Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood is looking forward to his game getting better and better as the Ryder Cup gets nearer and nearer.

Joint 15th place in a 78-man tournament might not seem great, but when the world's top 50 are present and you have slumped from fourth to 144th it is a big step back in the right direction.

Now the 29-year-old former European No 1 is hoping to use the NEC World Championship in Seattle as a springboard. Not only for The Belfry, but for his whole career.

"It's not just the Ryder Cup that this performance is good for," said Westwood, whose last top-15 finish was over a year ago when he came second to Colin Montgomerie in Sweden.

"I've got other things to think about before then. I'm not in the American Express World Championship yet [it is the week before the Ryder Cup in Ireland], but every decent performance is going to give me more confidence.

"I am pretty sure about a couple of things I am working on now and seem to have integrated them a bit, which was important this week.

"I'll keep working on them when I get home and hopefully it will get better and better.

"This was never going to be an easy course for me. If your game is not in good shape you don't want to be playing on fairways this narrow.

"You don't get away with anything. I haven't been lucky when I've hit it off the fairway, so it's been a good solid performance.

"The driving is probably the worst part of my game, but that will come back with confidence."

Westwood had his worst round of the season, an 82, at the USPGA Championship two weeks ago and according to stablemate Darren Clarke did not practise too well last week.

But in the £3.5m tournament he had nothing worse than a 72 and was pressing hard for a top-10 spot until he bogeyed the 12th and 16th in the final round. Even then he came back with a 14ft birdie putt at the short 17th and with playing partner Thomas Bjorn double-bogeying it they finished level at five under par.

Bjorn said: "I played with Lee for three days and he has taken a massive step. It's good to see.

"He's getting back to doing his own things and grinding it out and hitting a lot of good shots.

"It's important he does that and gets back on track. He drives the ball a lot better now and seems a lot more committed."

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