Lee Westwood was making a big charge at the leaders and stood on the 12th tee after moving to 7-under on the day and 12-under on the tournament poised to keep his hot round going.
After starting nine shots off the pace, Westwood had sliced the deficit to two. Teeing it up on the relatively straight forward 456-yard par-4, Westwood pushed his drive out to the right and ended up under a tree.
Westwood still had an opportunity to salvage his par after he smashed a low screamer under the branches to just short and left of the green.
At this point is when Westwood’s round came flying off the rails.
Westwood misread his chip shot, he thought it was going to turn to his right more than it actually did. Instead of leaving himself an easy par putt, he was outside of 24 feet. He made a near perfect stroke to remain at 12-under, but the ball teased Westwood, dying right at the hole and forcing Westwood to put a bogey 5 on his scorecard.
And also effectively ending Westwood’s chance to claim the 10th Wells Fargo Championship as well as his good mood.
Two holes later Westwood ripped a 315-yard drive and was just 25 yards off the green on the short par-4 14th. After watching his playing partner Kyle Reifers’ second shot roll off the green and into the lake, Westwood gingerly finessed his chip shot to within 5 feet.
Instead of getting his lost shot back, Westwood missed the birdie putt and walked away mumbling to himself and his caddie.
Soon Westwood’s building venom started to be focused on a sound guy following the group. On the par-5 15th, Westwood snapped when the sound guy didn’t move as quickly out of his line of sight as he liked.
Honestly, Westwood needed someone to take his frustration out on and the sound guy became the ideal patsy. Westwood knew he had a golden opportunity to post a low score before the leaders made the turn and have them chase him into the clubhouse.
Instead, Westwood pulled away from Quail Hollow Club knowing what could have been.
“I feel like if I would have made two or more more birdies and finished 14-under, that might have had a sniff.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com