Dubai: Three-time Omega Dubai Desert Classic runner-up Lee Westwood will finally leave the UAE with a trophy - albeit not one for his golfing ability.
The former World No 1, who had been hell-bent on ending his barren spell here, has found solace instead in victory for his part-owned horse, Rerouted, which won the Dubal Casthouse Trophy over 1,400m at Meydan Racecourse’s all-weather track on Thursday.
Currently on 12-under par at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, nine shots off the lead, after scores of 67, 71, 66, the 39-year-old Englishman’s golf title hopes have faded coming into the last day on Sunday, putting his chances of a unique Dubai double in doubt. But that hasn’t stopped him from using horse analogies, which would suggest he’s still hopeful of a turn of foot.
“I kept myself covered up for the first two days, but I can track the leader and get my neck in front on the line,” said Westwood, who made seven birdies and a bogey on Saturday.
Speaking about his better third round, while cooling talk of a Dubai double, he said: “I wasn’t motivated by the horse’s win. Whether it won or lost, I came here to win the tournament; a Dubai single would be nice.
“You get a real buzz, especially when it came as far behind as that,” he said of Rerouted.
But, adding of his own ability to make up on lost ground, Westwood said: “I putted very nicely, rolled the ball well. I was pleased to finish with two birdies on 17 and 18, and 12-under feels so much better than 10 and I could be within striking distance tomorrow.”