Westwood ready for Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Oct 3, 2007 - 4:50 PM FIFE, Scotland (Ticker) -- Lee Westwood is confident heading into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which starts Thursday.

Fresh of a commanding five-shot victory in the British Masters less than two weeks ago, the 34-year-old Westwood headlines the field competing at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns on the East Coast of Scotland.

Westwood won the Dunhill title in 2003 and heads into this week's championship hoping that he can continue his recent success. During a run of tournaments in September - the Johnnie Walker championship, The European Masters and the Mercedes Benz Championship - the English Ryder Cup player racked up a trio of top-10 finishes before notching his second tour win of the 2007 campaign, and the 18th of a prolific career, at The Belfry.

Westwood, who has hoisted himself up to the 12th place on the circuit's order of merit, has immersed himself in a rigorous fitness regime for the last year. Now the former European No. 1 insists he is reaping the rewards of his work away from the fairways.

"I feel this is like a second career about to start and I do feel like I have turned the corner," he said. "I've been working in the gym and on my fitness and the hard work I've done there is now paying off on the course. My body is in the right shape now and I can use the muscles in the correct way on the things I'm trying to implement on my swing."

Westwood tees-up in his first round at Carnoustie and will be joined in the lineup there by defending champion Padraig Harrington, who returns to the Angus links for the first time since capturing the Claret Jug in July's Open championship.

The 36-year-old Dubliner, who also landed the Dunhill title in 2002, currently leads the European Tour's order of merit and with almost $813,755 on offer to the winner this weekend, success in Scotland on Sunday night would go a long way to Harrington retaining the Harry Vardon Trophy he picked up as last year's No. 1 in Europe.

Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth - second, third, fourth and fifth respectively in the rankings - are all competing while former champions Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher also take part.

Three of the UK's greatest sportsmen, Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Steve Redgrave, make up a celebrated mix of amateurs involved in the contest and will be joined in the field by actors Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant and Ray Romano, tennis great Boris Becker, singer Ronan Keating and Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff.

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