World No 3 Lee Westwood offers Andrew Marshall support

European Tour professional Andrew Marshall still has the words of encouragement from world number three Lee Westwood ringing in his ears as he looks to build on a decent run of results at this week's BMW International Open in Cologne.

Marshall, 38, has made the cut in his last three starts, the highlight being a 17th place finish in the Nordea Masters in Sweden where Westwood ran away with the title, and is desperate to make the most of his opportunities to improve his standing in the Race to Dubai order of merit.

The Dereham professional shot a tremendous third round 66 in Sweden, to draw confidence-boosting compliments from Westwood.

'It was a great feeling to play well on such a long course, and even Lee Westwood came up to me and remarked on my third round score so my confidence got a much-needed boost,' said Marshall.

Last week Marshall went into the final two rounds of the Saint-Omer Open in France well placed to challenge for a top 10 finish – but in the end had to settle for a tied 28th position.

Marshall knows he cannot afford to let these chances go begging as he bids to retain his card for next season, especially as he only has a limited number of starts on the Tour.

'I have been very busy finally playing a run of full tour events from the Wales Open, then the Swedish monster and St.Omer last week,' he said. 'I played OK in Wales but to be honest the course was a bit long for me.

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'I putted well but couldn't really hit it near enough to the flags to make birdies. In Sweden I started to play really well and after making the cut on the mark I had a blistering back nine on the third day to card a 66 to move right up the leaderboard. In the last round I played solidly and again broke par to move up into the top 20.

'Moving on to St Omer I was feeling good about my game especially as I've played there many time. I played solid again and was lucky to play on Friday morning and not get blown away! With two rounds to go I had my eye on a top 10 but sadly dropped shots on my third round back nine so had to settle for a top 30 which is still OK.'

He added: This week in Cologne is one of the biggest events I'll play in this year. The course is in fantastic condition and I think scoring will be low as usual with a quality field here playing for two million Euros. My game is in good order and I'm raring to go and need to keep churning out top 30 finishes to have a chance of keeping my card for next season.'

Marshall made a solid start at Gut Larchenhof yesterday, recording a one under round of 71 which featured two birdies and just one dropped shot. He still has plenty of work to make the cut however, with his steady effort only good enough for tied 66th position.

Leading the way after eight-under par 64s were Australian Marcus Fraser and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay. Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Paul McGinley were tied third after 65s.

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