Argentinian minnow nets Norman

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reports from St Andrews

The promotional material for a tournament usually provides a reliable indicator as to whether a player is being paid appearance money or not. The Alfred Dunhill Cup features a moody, almost art deco shot of Greg Norman playing the 18th at the Old Course with the R and A clubhouse in the background and storm clouds gathering above.

Yesterday, Norman played the 18th for real and was under a jet black cloud by the name of Jose Coceres. In the world game, Coceres - who wouldn't know the colour of appearance money - is a minnow, 145th in the rankings and the winner of things like the Pinemar Open and the Los Cardales Challenge. Norman, of course, is the world No 1 and the biggest earner in the history of the game.

Coceres shot 72, Norman 75, and for good measure the Argentinian had a birdie three at the 18th to the Australian's four. The result provided Argentina with the perfect start, but the Great White Shark was let off the hook. Steve Elkington levelled the match with a little help from Eduardo Romero, who went out of bounds at the 14th, took a seven and lost by two, and in the decider Craig Parry defeated Vicente Fernandez by a stroke.

Parry came home in 33 with birdies at the 17th, the Road Hole, and the 18th in a round of 70. Parry's record in the Cup is played five, won five. When Coceres landed the big one, it gave him his first victory in the competition. "It was a great pity," the 49-year-old Fernandez said. "Jose made all the effort. If we had beaten Australia we would have knocked Maradona off the sports pages in Buenos Aires." Coceres has nine brothers and a sister. "He could have his own football team," Fernandez said.

When Norman arrived at St Andrews, he had to answer some awkward questions about appearance money and, in particular, why he did not appear in the World Match Play at Wentworth last week. Mark McCormack, whom Norman split from two years ago, accused the Australian of asking for huge amounts of appearance money. Norman denies this. The two, who had not spoken for 12 months, met at the Old Course Hotel here on Wednesday evening, and the word is that McCormack apologised for his comments about his former star client.

Yesterday the Great White Shark (Norman, not McCormack) took defeat on the jaw. After three-putting four greens he said: "Thank God I've got a team. This will be my worst day. Jose played like a guy who wanted to get the job done. There's nothing wrong with his game. I hope it gives him the confidence to become a better person and a better player."

Andrew Coltart provided the outstanding round of the day, a 66, as Scotland beat the Chinese 3-0. There were also whitewashes for Wales, the defending champions Canada, and the United States. There was little between the US and Ireland until the closing holes where the Americans displayed a form of self-destruction reminiscent of their play in the finale to the Ryder Cup.

Lee Janzen, having birdied the Road Hole, hit his drive out of bounds on to the road at the last, disturbing the drinkers at the Rusacks Hotel. "There is no excuse," Janzen said. He took six to Darren Clarke's four and lost by two strokes. Ronan Rafferty sank a putt of around 40 feet for a three at the Road Hole and although Ben Crenshaw matched that, the Texan was beaten by a stroke. And in the final match, Peter Jacobsen hit it on to the road at the 17th and lost at the last where Philip Walton gave Peter Jacobsen a lesson in playing the pitch-and-run shot.

As for Coceres, he is not out of it yet, although Argentina will have to beat England and Spain to survive. England were undone 2-1 by Spain, Ignacio Garrido, the replacement for Jose-Maria Olazabal, applying the coup de grace with a birdie at the last to pip Howard Clark.


ALFRED DUNHILL CUP (Old Course, St Andrews): Group One: United States 0 Ireland 3: L Janzen 73 lost to D Clarke 71; B Crenshaw 71 lost to R Rafferty 70; P Jacobsen 73 lost to P Walton 72. Canada 0 Sweden 3: D Barr 77 lost to J Parnevik 70; R Stewart 73 lost to J Sandelin 72; R Gibson 71 lost to P-U Johansson 69. Group Two: Scotland 3 Taiwan 0: A Coltart 66 bt Chen Liang-hsi 73; S Torrance 75 bt Lu Wen-teh 81; C Montgomerie 71 bt Chung Chun-hsing 80. South Africa 2 Germany 1: R Goosen 70 bt H P Thul 72; D Frost 74 lost to S Struver 73; E Els 70 bt A Cejka 72. Group Three: New Zealand 2 Japan 1: M Campbell 68 bt H Kase 73; F Nobilo 71 bt T Watanabe 75; G Turner 73 lost to N Serizawa 72. Zimbabwe 3 Wales 0: T Johnstone 73 bt M Mouland 75; N Price 67 bt P Affleck 70; M McNulty 69 bt I Woosnam 74. Group Four: Australia 2 Argentina 1: G Norman 75 lost to J Coceres 72: S Elkington 72 bt E Romero 74; C Parry 70 bt V Fernandez 71. England 1 Spain 2: B Lane 74 bt J Rivero 75; M James 77 lost to M A Jimenez 73; H Clark 76 lost to I Garrido 75.

Tee-off times

Group Two: South Africa v Taiwan: 0930 R Goosen v Chung Chun-hsing. 0940 D Frost v Lu Wen-teh. 0950 E Els v Chen Liang-hsi. Scotland v Germany: 1000 A Coltart v A Cejka. 1010 S Torrance v H P Thul. 1020 C Montgomerie v S Struver.

Group Four: England v Argentina: 1030 B Lane v V Fernandez. 1040 M James v J Coceres. 1050 H Clark v E Romero. Australia v Spain: 1100 G Norman v M A Jimenez. 1110 S Elkington v J Rivero. 1120 C Parry v I Garrido.

Group One: Canada v Ireland: 1140 R Gibson v D Clarke. 1150 R Stewart v P Walton. 1200 D Barr v R Rafferty. United States v Sweden: 1210 P Jacobsen v J Parnevik. 1220 B Crenshaw v J Sandelin. 1230 L Janzen v P-U Johansson.

Group Three: New Zealand v Wales: 1240 M Campbell v I Woosnam. 1250 G Turner v M Mouland. 1300 F Nobilo v P Affleck. Zimbabwe v Japan: 1310 T Johnstone v T Watanabe. 1320 M McNulty v H Kase. 1330 N Price v N Serizawa.