Lee Westwood finally had some joy on LIV Golf on Sunday, earning his first top-five finish in two years and banking a seven-figure pay-day in the process.

The former world No. 1 has struggled for form since joining the breakaway circuit as a founding member in 2022, and he would have been relegated last season had he not been a co-captain of the Majesticks team – with a clause in his contract guaranteeing his place in the league regardless of his place in the standings.

This season got off to a dismal start, too, failing to earn any points through the first seven weeks of the season, with a best finish of tied-32nd in that stretch. But after an encouraging tied-18th at LIV Golf Houston earlier this month, the Englishman delivered his best performance since joining LIV.

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Westwood carded a final round of five-under-par at The Grove in Nashville, finishing in a four-way tie for third place with Jon Rahm, Joaquin Niemann and Bryson DeChambeau. Westwood's Majesticks teammate Sam Horsfield was one shot better off at 13-under for the tournament, although he finished six shots adrift of runaway winner and fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton.

Despite not contending for the win, Westwood's finish in Tennessee was a welcome return to form almost two years on from his previous best outing at LIV – a tie for fourth in Boston in September 2022.

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With his share for third place, Westwood earned a cool $1million (£788,000) in individual prize money. But although it was a solid week for the Majesticks, with Ian Poulter and Henrick Stenson finishing just inside the top 25, they narrowly missed out on a slice of the team prize fund, with Hatton and Rahm's Legion XIII squad splitting the $3m (£2.36m) after taking top spot ahead of Torque and the Crushers.

Westwood, 51, was languishing near the bottom of the season standings before teeing it up at The Grove, but a welcome haul of ranking points has seen him leap into 33rd place, clear of the relegation zone.

Just four individual events remain in the LIV season and Westwood will hope to carry Sunday's result into the European swing of the campaign, which begins at Valderrama in Spain on July 12 before the Englishman's home event at JCB Golf and Country Club in Uttoxeter on July 26.

And Westwood has plenty of reasons to be optimistic after his performance at The Grove, carding just a single bogey across 54 holes – fewer than any player in the field. Still, a win proves elusive for the ex-Ryder Cup star; his last came on the DP World Tour in 2020, bus his performance over the weekend suggested he is closer than ever to ending his drought.

2024-06-24T14:23:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd