Westwood shows rookie Dubuisson the ropes

Victor Dubuisson of France plays his second shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Victor Dubuisson of France plays his second shot at the first hole during the third round of the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – For rookie Victor Dubuisson, Saturday’s round of 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic was more academic than anything.

While much of the attention at Emirates Golf Club focused on the battle between the game’s top three players, the third round paired world No. 1 Lee Westwood with Dubuisson, the former world amateur No. 1.

Dubuisson, a recent Q-School graduate, is gaining experience playing with the big names on the European Tour. The Frenchman finished tied for ninth in last week’s Qatar Masters, where he had his first encounter with Westwood in the hotel gym.

“I was on the treadmill and Lee was next to me doing his workout,” said the 20-year-old. “It was weird because I was used to watching Lee on the television, and then there he was beside me in the gym.

“Then today I got the chance to play with him. It was really good, but I didn’t play well. For the first 14 or 15 holes, I was just watching Lee and not concentrating on my own game.”

Consider it a lesson learned for the 2009 European Individual Amateur champion.

He said, “It was the first time I’ve played with a very famous player . . . On the first two holes, I started with two bogeys and I didn’t even realize I was 2 over par because I was busy watching Lee playing. I watched his shot and then played mine, but I was thinking about how he would play his next shot.”

He figured he would have shot five strokes better if he played with a “normal” player, he said.

But it wasn’t a waste. Westwood offered advice and set an example to follow during the round.

“Lee wasn’t too happy with his game, but he kept the ball on the fairway and green and he showed patience,” Dubuisson said.

“What I learned from him was that if you aren’t playing well, you have to stay patient. He did that and holed some good putts on the back nine.

“Next time I play with a big name, I think I will definitely do better.”

For the record, Dubuisson played better in the final round, carding a 70 to finish T-31.

Information from European Tour contributed to this report.

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