Faldo spearheads pursuit of the Great White Shark

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Golf

TIM GLOVER

reports from Augusta

When Bobby Jones, the moving spirit behind Augusta National, first set eyes on Jack Nicklaus he remarked that he played a game with which he was not familiar. There were many here echoing similar sentiments about Greg Norman following his blazing start in the 60th Masters but yesterday a familiar figure moved into his slipstream. This afternoon Norman will not only have to contend with the course but with Nick Faldo.

We know that the Australian can cope with Augusta National but it is by no means clear that he can handle the Englishman with the same degree of confidence. When the two were paired together in the third round of the Open at St Andrews in 1990, Faldo shot 67, Norman 76. Faldo, the Masters champion in 1989 and 1990, yesterday moved in on Norman with a 67 and at eight under par for the tournament is four strokes off the lead. Faldo's putting was the key and he had only 26 in his round, one fewer than Norman had when he shot 63.

Faldo, who said he has spent six months preparing for the Masters, dropped a shot at the first hole in the second round but proceeded to pick up six birdies, and today he has the draw he wanted: last out with Norman with the gloves off. Norman, resuming on nine under, finished at 12 under following a 69. Norman picked up the gauntlet with birdies on the 13th, 15th and 18th but was fortunate to avoid the water at the 12th.

While the Great White Shark was basking in the warm glow of his record- equalling score on Thursday, lesser mortals were lost in his wake. Sam Torrance, the No 2 to Colin Montgomerie on the European Tour last year, and Gordon Sherry, the amateur champion, parted company from the tournament, and from each other, yesterday. Torrance, who had an 80 in the first round, needed a score of Norman proportions to survive the cut and although he improved considerably with a 71 it was not enough.

At seven over par for the championship, Torrance headed for the airport as did David Gilford. "Every cloud has a silver lining," Torrance said. "I'll be able to watch the tournament at home with my wife and kids." The 22-year-old Sherry added a 77 to a 78 for an aggregate of 155, 11 over par and the first thing he did after signing his score card was to sign a contract to turn professional.

"This was the worst experience of my life," Sherry said, "but in the long run I'm sure it will be of great benefit to me." He will make his debut as a professional in the Italian Open and has received invitations to six other events. Unlike Torrance, Sherry will spend the weekend in Augusta. In fact, Torrance will be able to listen to Sherry's comments on BBC television.

Ian Woosnam shot 69 and at three under par does not consider himself out of the hunt. When the Welshman won here in 1991, he was fired up by comments from the crowd who were taking a partisan American line. This week his fighting spirit was stirred by an exchange with Fred Couples on the practice ground. "There were a few F words," Woosnam said, "but it wasn't chest to chest." Fuzzy Zoeller had to act as peacemaker after Woosnam and Couples had an argument about the par three competition. They were due to play together but Couples, without informing Woosnam, withdrew.

Montgomerie and Seve Ballesteros both made birdie threes at the last hole to survive the halfway cut with nothing to spare at two over par. Forty-four players survived to the final rounds. Montgomerie shot 74 and was back to his exasperated best. "This bloody place ... I don't know," he said. "It's all mental here. It has nothing to do with technique. It's very hard on the mind." He added that over the first two rounds he had a dozen putts that lipped out of the hole. "I've had no luck at all and you need some around here."

Sherry finished two shots in front of the former Open champion Ian Baker- Finch who had a 79 that included a quadruple bogey nine at the 13th where he lost three balls in the water. He had shared a practice round here with Ballesteros and the two compared notes. It might have had a resonance with the log of the captain of the Titanic. Baker-Finch is dying the death of a 1,000 missed cuts. He rang an airline company, hired a private jet, told them to stock it with ice cold beer and flew home, not to his house in Florida but back to Australia where he intends to spend five weeks contemplating his future. There were a few players worse off than Baker- Finch, Doug Ford, for example, but Ford, the Masters champion in 1957, is 73 years of age.

Meanwhile, Norman appears to have taken a leaf out of the book of the Sri Lankan openers in his approach this year to the Masters. He has been a notoriously slow starter at Augusta National and traditionally reserves his best for a final round charge. "I'll be able to reflect on this for many years to come," Norman said. But only if he wears the Green Jacket tomorrow evening.

Norman, who has finished in the top six in the Masters on seven occasions, said: " I'm excited but I'm not going to let it get away from me." Norman has won the Open Championship twice but has never landed a major in the United States despite being the world No 1. No one has ever shot lower than 63 in any of the four majors and Norman is the only player to do it in two. His other 63 came in the second round of the 1986 Open at Turnberry.

The speed of the greens and the placing of the flags are the only defences the course has against a major assault. They will not want to see the Masters won with an overwhelming score and, short of placing the flagsticks in the middle of the bunkers or lakes, they came up with some fiendish placements. Norman and Faldo have seen it all before.

Sherry's fairy-tale ends, page 27

Complete second-round scores

US unless stated

* denotes amateur

132

G Norman (Aus) 63 69

136

N Faldo (GB) 69 67

138

D Frost (SA) 70 68

P Mickelson 65 73

139

L Janzen 68 71

B Tway 67 72

140

S McCarron 70 70

V Singh (Fiji) 69 71

S Hoch 67 73

141

C Pavin 75 66

I Woosnam (GB) 72 69

142

E Els (SA) 71 71

J Huston 71 71

B Estes 71 71

F Nobilo (NZ) 71 71

143

M O'Meara 72 71

D Love III 72 71

D Waldorf 72 71

F Funk 71 72

J Haas 70 73

J Nicklaus 70 73

144

A Cejka (Ger) 73 71

L Roberts 71 73

M Calcavecchia 71 73

J Maggert 71 73

R Floyd 70 74

P Azinger 70 74

145

J Furyk 75 70

B Langer (Ger) 75 70

T Lehman 75 70

H Irwin 74 71

D Duval 73 72

C Stadler 73 72

J Daly 71 74

S Lowery 71 74

S Simpson 69 76

146

F Couples 78 68

L Mize 75 71

S Ballesteros (Sp) 73 73

C Montgomerie (GB) 72 74

J Leonard 72 74

N Price (Zim) 71 75

J Gallagher Jnr 70 76

B Faxon 69 77

Missed cut

147

T Watson 75 72

F Zoeller 74 73

J Sluman 74 73

T Tryba 72 75

T Aaron 71 76

D Gilford (GB) 69 78

148

M Brooks 72 76

H Sutton 72 76

M Ozaki (Japan) 71 77

C Strange 71 77

B Glasson 71 77

149

S Stricker 80 69

S Lyle (GB) 75 74

G Player (SA) 73 76

M Campbell (NZ) 73 76

150

N Lancaster 76 74

T Woods* 75 75

P Stewart 74 76

A Palmer 74 76

151

S Torrance (GB) 80 71

B Crenshaw 77 74

S Higashi (Japan) 76 75

E Dougherty 76 75

K Triplett 76 75

152

T Herron 76 76

K Perry 75 77

T Kite 75 77

G Brewer 75 77

P Stankowski 74 78

153

W Austin 79 74

D Edwards 79 74

C Rocca (It) 78 75

B Bryant 78 75

M Roe (GB) 74 79

154

B Mayfair 77 77

155

G Sherry* (GB) 78 77

S Elkington (Aus) 76 79

B Henninger 76 79

D A Weibring 74 81

157

I Baker-Finch (Aus) 78 79

158

C Wollmann* 79 79

P Goydos 74 83

160

C Coody 82 78

B Marucci* 79 81

M McCumber 78 82

J Courville Jnr* 78 82

161

B Casper 75 86

169

D Ford 81 88

Comments