Faldo picks up the pace as his short game revives

Golf

Nick Faldo spoke of his return to form yesterday after shooting a four- under par 68 to move into second place after three rounds of the Mercedes Championship in Carlsbad, California.

Faldo, the former world No 1 and the winner of five major championships between 1987 and 1992, said he was starting to hit his stride again after a relatively lean 1995. "I struggled with my game last summer," he said. "I'm striking the ball much better now, making much better contact. I'm trying to hit good shots and at the moment I'm enjoying the golf course."

The Briton, noted as one of the game's hardest workers, said he had been concentrating more on his short game lately, and was doing "less beating of the long shots".

Consistent Mark O'Meara shot a flawless six-under-par 66 to take a four- stroke lead, compiling six birdies for a 13-under 203. "I played a pretty darn good round," O'Meara said. "I hit a lot of good iron shots and obviously made some putts. I felt very much in control of myself."

Faldo was second four strokes behind on 207, while the half-way leader Lee Janzen's 72 put him one back in joint third.

John Daly shot his eighth successive round above par, a one-over 73 that left him at eight-over 224. The Open champion said he was not feeling well, and doubted he would play the Tucson Open starting on Thursday.

MERCEDES CHAMPIONSHIP (Carlsbad, Calif) Leading third-round scores (US unless stated): 203 M O'Meara 68 69 66. 207 N Faldo (GB) 70 69 68. 208 C Pavin 67 71 70; J Gallagher 71 67 70; S Hoch 69 69 70; L Janzen 71 65 72. 209 B Crenshaw 69 71 69; B Bryant 70 70 69. 210 D Love 72 71 67; D Waldorf 71 70 69; B Tway 71 69 70. 212 S Elkington (Aus) 70 72 70; L Roberts 71 71 70; T Lehman 71 69 72. 214 K Perry 70 74 70; P Stewart 74 69 71; M Calcavecchia 73 69 72; J Furyk 74 68 72. 215 F Funk 70 73 72. 216 D Weibring 69 75 72; V Singh (Fiji) 73 71 72. 217 B Mayfair 73 75 69; J Morse 74 71 72. 218 H Sutton 76 73 69. 219 G Norman (Aus) 73 73 73; W Austin 71 73 75. 220 E Dougherty 74 73 73; P Mickelson 74 72 74. 221 T Tryba 71 76 74. 224 J Daly 76 75 73.

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