The Open 2012: Lee Westwood admits he has been struggling

By Rob HodgettsBBC Sport at Royal Lytham & St Annes

Lee Westwood says he is struggling with his game after carding a disappointing three-over 73 in the first round of the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The 39-year-old Englishman began with two birdies but made a double bogey at the third and went on to limp home in 40 despite the benign conditions.

"The start was a bit of a lie, really," said the world number three, who trails leader Adam Scott by nine shots.

"I don't feel in control of the ball and you get found out pretty quickly."

Westwood was highly fancied to clinch his first major at the 58th attempt this week but his hopes soon floundered after a bright start.

His double bogey came after he took four to get down from a greenside bunker on the 478-yard par-four third.

He followed that with a bogey on the long par-four sixth but picked up shots on the 592-yard par-five seventh and again on the short ninth to go out in 33. On the difficult back nine, Westwood dropped four shots in five holes from the 13th.

"I've been working on it for three or four weeks now, since the US Open," he added. "I didn't hit it that great there, I got away with a lot. It's just one of those things, you can't have great form all the time.

"I aim at a point and it either goes left or right, not often straight. On tight golf courses if you can't pick a point and shape it off it - like Bubba [Watson] did all day - and eliminate one side of the golf course, you're going to struggle."

Westwood has been one of the most consistent performers in recent majors, with seven top threes in his last 16 appearances. He has also been second and third in two of the last three Opens.

"I'm not going to make up any shots playing like that," said Westwood.

"I'll go and work on a few things and see if I can find something out.

"I've been working on it for a few weeks and it's not clicked."