Golf: Olazabal eases into the lead

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The Independent Online
The former US Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal eased into a one-stroke lead at the half-way stage of the Greg Norman International in Sydney yesterday as the host became distracted by distant events.

Ryder Cup hero Olazabal fired a second consecutive five-under-par round of 67 to lead the American John Cook, who equalled the tournament best of 66 on another day of low scores. Olazabal collected two birdies on the front nine and three more on the back.

The Australian Craig Jones is two strokes behind the Spaniard on 136 after matching Olazabal's 67, with Zimbabwe's Nick Price tied for fourth three shots off the lead alongside Canadian Rick Gibson after both carded 69 yesterday.

Greg Norman had a one-over-par 73, seven off the lead, clearly distracted by questions about the American president, Bill Clinton, a personal friend, and the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Raymond Russell is the leading British player five shots behind Olazabal on 139, while Andrew Coltart is on 140 having matched his fellow Scot's 70.

David Carter made it to the weekend on 143 after adding a 69 to his opening 74, but his fellow Englishman Jon Robson failed to qualify after a second successive 73. Scotland's Colin Campbell also bowed out after rounds of 75 and 74.