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National Car Rental English Open
Marriott Hanbury Manor
Ware, Hertfordshire
4th June - 7th June 1998

Par 72 Prize Money 650,000

Final Round

Westwood wins by two-shots for second victory in a week

Ware, Hertfordshire, 7th June 1998 - Lee Westwood took the National Car Rental English Open by two strokes at Hanbury Manor on Sunday giving him back to back victories and he went straight to the top of the European Volvo rankings. It is his first win on British soil and its the first time he has headed the Volvo money list.

The 25-year-old Englishman went into the final round a shot ahead of the field, fell two strokes behind Greg Chalmers of Australia, but caught and passed the left-hander by the turn.

Westwood's closing four-under-par 68 took him to 271, 17 under par and two shots clear of Chalmers and Sweden's Olle Karlsson. He also won the European TPC in Germany last Monday.

After collecting his trophy Westwood headed straight for Heathrow Airport for a Concorde flight to this week's Buick Classic in upstate New York on the U.S. Tour as his final warm-up for the following week's U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

"I keep ticking things off on my list of goals. It's nice to be top of the Order of Merit and I've only got one thing left now. That's obviously to win a major," he said.

"There's no reason why I can't win the U.S. Open. I'm certainly comfortable and confident now whether or not I'm leading or chasing.

"The Olympic course should suit me. U.S. Open courses are tight and you need to be straight. That's me at the moment. And I'm looking forward to fast greens where you need to use imagination."

The 108,330 first prize took Westwood from sixth place to the top of the Order of Merit above South African Ernie Els.

It was Westwood's third success of the year after his TPC victory and on the U.S. Tour in the Freeport McDermott Classic the week before the Masters in April.

Chalmers birdied the first three holes to take the lead after coming through the field with a course-record 61 in Saturday's third round. But a late bogey for a 69 left him sharing second place on 273.

Karlsson, making his comeback after missing much of 1997 injured, shot 66 to move to joint second.

Colin Montgomerie finished fourth on 274, a further stroke back, after a final round of 69.

Birdies at the eighth and ninth holes put Westwood back in front to stay, further birdies on the 13th and 14th consolidating his victory.

His double made him the first European to record back-to-back victories since Bernhard Langer in the Italian Open and the Benson and Hedges International last spring.

Westwood is used to globetrotting for his victories. In his remarkable run since last October when he took the lucrative final European title, the Volvo Masters, he has now won in Europe twice, the U.S. once, the Australian Open - where he beat Greg Norman in a playoff, and the Taiheiyo Masters in Japan. He also lost a playoff in the Malaysian Open, which he won last year.

Chalmers, 24, had his second runner-up place in Europe after the Spanish Open, but would have claimed second on his own but for a bogey on the short 16th.

Karlsson drew up to second with seven birdies for his biggest prize, after coming back from 10 months off last year following a serious operation on his thumb.

Montgomerie was disconsolate. "To finish fourth is very disappointing after shooting 64 to lead the first round," he said. "I should go on and win from there and to shoot only six under after that is very disappointing.

"I left dozens and dozens and dozens of shots on the course," he added, refusing to discuss his prospects at the U.S. Open, where he was second in 1994 and again last year.

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