Arizona: Lee Westwood had good reason to smile after easing into the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship with a 3&1 victory over Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts on Wednesday.
The British world number three has never gone beyond the second round in 11 previous appearances at the elite World Golf Championships event but his early form at Dove Mountain suggests that barren run could end this week.
"I played really well," Westwood told reporters after recording six birdies in a flawless display in the Arizona desert. "I didn`t give a hole away, didn`t make a bogey. It was a good, honest, solid match. We both played well.
"It`s like a sprint here. You have got to come out fast and try to make as many birdies as possible to get up as quickly as possible so you have got momentum."
The accurate-hitting Englishman certainly did that, making two birdies in the first three holes to go two up and he never trailed before sealing the win on the 17th green.
Westwood, who has fallen in the opening round four times, was especially pleased with his short game on the challenging, heavily contoured greens at Dove Mountain`s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
"There were some tricky chips around here because there are a lot of different sections on the green," the former world number one said.
"I was really pleased with that and I had worked on that a little bit last week. I made a few putts, a couple of 15-footers when I needed to. So it was tidy."
Westwood faces a difficult opponent in the second round, Robert Karlsson who hammered fellow Swede Fredrick Jacobson 6&5 on Wednesday.
"He`s got a good game. He flights the ball high, which is perfect for altitude golf," the Englishman said. "He seems like he`s good in the desert, so it will be a tough match, as they all are going to be this week.
"I played, in theory, what should be my easiest game today against one of the lower-ranked players and I had to shoot six under par to win."
Asked whether he was at all bothered by his failure to reach the third round in the past, Westwood replied: "I`m not too worried about that. I have had my best ever performance in this tournament today, so that`s all positive."