A birthday to remember for Westwood | Asian Tour

A birthday to remember for Westwood

Published on April 24, 2021

When England’s evergreen star Lee Westwood celebrates his 48th birthday today, the one victory – out of his 44 international wins – that may come to mind the most is his triumph at the Indonesian Masters, in Jakarta.

That is because he claimed the first of his three wins in the event on this same day, just a decade ago.

In what was the inaugural edition of the Indonesian Masters he beat Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee by three shots at Royale Jakarta Golf Club – the event’s regular home for the ensuing eight years.

Westwood, at the time ranked number two on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), led by five going into the last round and closed with a three-under 69, to hold off a typically brave challenge from Thongchai, who shot a sensational 65.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – APRIL 24: Lee Westwood of England poses with his birthday cake after winning the Indonesian Masters atthe Royale Jakarta Golf Club on April 24, 2011 in Jakarta , Indonesia (Photo by Khalid Redza / Asian Tour via Getty Images)

“This will definitely be the most memorable birthday for me,” said Westwood, after his win.

The Englishman was also bidding to reclaim the number one spot on the OWGR – which was being led by Germany’s Martin Kaymer, although England’s Luke Donald, in third place, looked like taking over top spot as he was on the cusp of winning the Heritage tournament on the US PGA Tour that same Sunday.

“It was about coming here this week and trying to win the Indonesian Masters and I’ve done that. I’ve ticked every box this week so we will have to wait and see what happens,” said the Englishman, who held the number one spot for 17 weeks before being deposed by Kaymer in February.

Westwood’s win was put on hold for over an hour when lightning forced him to return to the clubhouse with one hole to play.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – APRIL 22: Lee Westwood of England talks with Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand during the second round of the Indonesian Masters at Royale Jakarta Golf Club on April 22, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Khalid Redza/Asian Tour/Asian Tour via Getty Images)

When play resumed he parred the 18th to finish the tournament on 19-under 269.

He was even par for the day after nine holes but shifted gear when he holed a difficult birdie putt on the 11th hole.

“Yeah, that was probably the hardest putt I had all day,” he said.

“It was 15 feet and had a three-feet break on it. I birdied the next with two good shots and played solidly. I managed to pick up a few shots and birdied the 16th from four feet. I was quite comfortable after that.”

Thongchai credited a red-hot putter for his fine round, where he turned in 31 before adding two more birdies on his back nine.

“It was a good round from me and I’m happy with how I played. I played my own game and focused hole by hole and shot by shot,” said the Thai, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.

In the end Westwood did not reclaim top spot on the OWGR from Kaymer – nor did Donald, who lost in a play-off to American Brad Snedeker at the Heritage.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – APRIL 24: Lee Westwood of England in action during day four of the Indonesian Masters at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club on April 24, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia (Photo by Khalid Redza / Asian Tour via Getty Images)

But his victory in the Indonesian capital was yet another career defining conquest. He went on to win the event the following year, and then again in 2015.

To date he has claimed nine titles in Asia and is one of the few golfers who has won tournaments on five continents – Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

And after winning the European Tour’s Order of Merit last year and finishing runner-up on the PGA Tour twice in March, first at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard followed the week after at THE PLAYERS Championship, perhaps we have not seen the last of his silverware success in Asia.

Happy Birthday Lee Westwood!