Chapman aims to break duck

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As an amateur, Roger Chapman won the 1979 English Championship and the 1981 Lytham Trophy. As a professional, he won the Zimbabwean Open. So far that is a unique experience in his career as a touring pro, and it may well be unique for being achieved at a venue bearing his name, Chapman Golf Club in Harare.

These are little known facts about Chapman, born in Kenya 38 years ago and whose reputation as a runner-up more usually goes before him. He has been second six times on the European tour and 11 times worldwide.

Chapman, who clocked up his latest near-miss in the Moroccan Open in March, is in fine form, as shown by his 16th place in the Ryder Cup standings. A six-under 66 in the first round of the Alamo English Open here gave him a one-stroke lead over the German Thomas Gogele. Jose Maria Olazabal returned a 69, but Colin Montgomerie continued to struggle with a level- par 72.

This is Chapman's 393rd event on tour. It took Carl Mason until his 455th to achieve a maiden win. "I've chatted to Carl and he said one day it will happen, keep plugging away and believe in yourself," Chapman said. A year's work with Chris Linstead, a sports psychologist and martial arts expert who worked with Bernard Gallacher prior to the last Ryder Cup, has done wonders.

"I believe with Chris we can crack it," Chapman added. "It may not be this year, or next year, but there will be one, I'm sure. Before, when I was coming down the stretch, I was thinking 'let's get this over with'. Now I'm enjoying my golf."

While Chapman made six birdies without dropping a shot, Olazabal picked up the same number of shots but made three bogeys. Though the Jack Nicklaus II-designed course is not excessively long, length off the tee is an advantage as accuracy is required for the approach shots. "You don't want to be hitting four-irons in to these greens because they are so well protected," Olazabal said.

Montgomerie holed 300 putts on Wednesday night, but it took him only until the fourth before he three-putted from 15 feet. "I have no confidence, unfortunately," Montgomerie said.