Our Lee’s the one to beat

AS the weeks pass, the world’s elite are slowly building up for next month’s US Masters at Augusta. Their first major test of the season is this week’s WGC Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain, Arizona.

Match-play golf is a young player’s dream. Instead of 160 players trying to beat you, it’s just you against your opponent, and it gives you a chance to express yourself and play more freely.

It’s a form of the game that suits a confident player and for that reason I can look no further than Lee Westwood. He’s playing the golf of his life at the moment and will take an awful lot of stopping right now.

The problem for Lee is that he faces a tough group which includes Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who is looking to become the first player to win the tournament three times.

Also standing in his way is Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and USPGA champion YE Yang, so he certainly won’t get an easy ride.

Paul Casey is another to look out for. He is a fine Match-Play player and will be looking to go one step further than his runner-up place to Ogilvy last year.

It was a good week for the veterans on the circuit this week, in particular, for Barry Lane, who came within a whisker of becoming the oldest ever European Tour winner at the age of 49 at the Avantha Masters in India.

I had Barry to win at 35/1 on the Saturday and it was looking good with two holes to play. But he was eventually pipped by young Australian Andrew Dodt, who, I must say, looked very impressive on his way to a maiden title.

Across the water, it was wonderful to see the return of former world No1 David Duval at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. David is a lovely guy and one of my favourite golfers, but hasn’t won a tournament since winning The Open at Lytham St Annes in 2001.

It was great to see him playing so well but he will have been disappointed to miss out to Dustin Johnson, who became the first player to win back-to-back titles at Pebble Beach in 20 years.