The No. 1 ranking belongs to Lee Westwood for at least another week, which is the least of his concerns.
No matter how well he played Saturday in the HSBC Champions in Shangai, where he kept bogeys off his card and matched the low score of the third round at Sheshan International with a 5-under 67, it wasn’t enough to overtake Francesco Molinari.
Molinari holed a 7-iron from 160 yards for eagle. When it looked as if there might be a two-shot swing, he knocked in a 10-foot par putt on the 16th hole to stay in the lead. And after Westwood chipped to tap-in birdie range on the par-5 18th, Molinari ended his up-and-down day with a 10-foot birdie for a 67 to stay one shot clear.
So when Westwood was asked how it felt to stay No. 1 in the world – virtually a lock the way Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickelson all fell apart – he made his intentions perfectly clear.
“I haven’t thought about world rankings or anything like that,” Westwood said. “I’m here to try and win the HSBC Champions. The world rankings are just something that reflects the way you play.”
After his answer was translated into Chinese, Westwood took hold of the microphone for one last comment.
“Can I follow on?” he said. “When I play a golf tournament, I look at the leaderboard, but I don’t see any other names. I see my name and the scores. And right now, I’m one behind the leader, which won’t win the golf tournament. So I’ve got to get above.”
ALLEN LEADS COOK
Michael Allen shot a course-record 10-under 61 to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion John Cook in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in San Francisco
Allen had 10 birdies, the last on the par-4 18th, in his bogey-free round at Harding Park for the lowest round of his career. He also matched the best round of the year on the Champions Tour.