Golf: Sherborne profits from early start

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The Independent Online
A WELCOME break from the buffeting wind finally arrived for competitors in the Qatar Masters yesterday morning. The only problem was that you had to get up at 4.30am to enjoy the calm.

Andrew Sherborne could not remember having to rise earlier for a round of golf. The Bristol golfer might want to employ the tactic again. Teeing off at 6.40am, Sherborne returned a 64, eight under par, to take the half- way lead at 11 under by two from the Swiss Paolo Quirici.

"It was absolutely perfect out there," Sherborne said. Over two rounds he has yet to drop a shot and yesterday collected six birdies and an eagle at the 10th. "You have to make the most of days like these," he added. Especially when you have had years like Sherborne had in 1997, slumping to 104th on the money list. "So far this week I've been enjoying myself. Last year wasn't any joy at all. I was swinging badly and generally incompetent. When you are struggling it's the worst game in the world."

Ian Woosnam's moods fluctuate rather faster after lacking much enthusiasm in practice. The Welshman came in with a 65, as did Swindon's David Howell. "I drove the ball better and after two rounds I'm in prime position," said Woosnam, who at seven under was lying joint fifth, one shot behind the Swedes, Anders Forsbrand and Patrik Sjoland. Quirici and Sjoland both shot 66s, which were creditable for being compiled once the wind had got back up in the afternoon.

After 20 years on tour, Ross Drummond lost his card last year and is only playing in Doha thanks to a late sponsor's invitation. At five under par, he is within sight of the top-10 finish he needs to play in Morocco next week. The 41-year-old Scot enjoyed his best year in 1996, but found the confidence he gained disappear last season.

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