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Westwood has high hopes for Hillside

LEE Westwood will chasing  his 25th European Tour victory when he joins tournament host Tommy Fleetwood at Hillside Golf Club next week for the Betfred British Masters.

The Englishman, who claimed a Rolex Series title in the Nedbank Golf Challenge last November, is in pursuit of the milestone win, and his second Betfred British Masters title, as he returns to action following a month off.

He is part of a strong line-up of British players which includes Ryder Cup stars Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Wallace and defending champion Eddie Pepperell.

Westwood hosted the 2017 tournament at Close House and has an impressive record in the British Masters. He won the title in 2007 at The Belfry and lost in a play-off the following year, while he also finished third at The Grove in 2016.

“The British Masters is one of my favourite events to play in,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my hosting duties at Close House in Newcastle two years ago and I’m sure Tommy will have a great experience this year.

“It’s great to take the tournament to different parts of the country and we’re all looking forward to seeing what Tommy has in store for us.

“Southport is obviously a strong golfing area and it’s always nice for the British players to play in front of the home fans, so it should be a great week.”

Westwood claimed his first European Tour win in 1996 and has gone on to become one of the most decorated players in British golfing history.

He is one of only four Englishmen to have reached World Number One and has won professional tournaments on five different continents. In 2000, he topped the European Tour Order of Merit and then accomplished the feat again in 2009, winning the Race to Dubai.

The 46 year old’s Ryder Cup record is the stuff of legend. He competed in the biennial event on ten consecutive occasions, helping Team Europe to victory in seven of them. He also served as vice-captain for Thomas Bjørn’s victorious European side in Paris last September when tournament host Fleetwood contributed four points towards the 17 ½ – 10 ½ victory.

Fleetwood is following in the footsteps of Westwood, and other former hosts Ian Poulter (2015), Luke Donald (2016) and Justin Rose (2018), all of whom have helped return the Betfred British Masters to prominence following its reintroduction to the European Tour schedule.