Fulke's 12 birdies fail to fell Lehman

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It was a dull day on the Bonnie Banks, but only in the sense of the weather. The sun did not quite break through all day, but with hardly a breath of wind and the fairways and greens soft after the rain of Thursday, the Loch Lomond course was there for the taking.

Tom Lehman, the second-round leader by three strokes, may have expected a few people to make an advance. He probably did not expect someone to make 12 birdies during the day, as Pierre Fulke did. The 26-year-old Swede, however, twice bogeyed the 18th and, on 13 under, is two strokes behind Lehman, who maintained his advantage with a 67, and two ahead of another American, Steve Jones.

Others came out of the pack, Payne Stewart, wearing Dress Stewart Tartan plus-fours, coming home in 30, although he is still back on seven under, and Ernie Els, returning in 31 to advance to nine under.

The South African was drawn to play with Colin Montgomerie and while Els is correct to dismiss a "me versus him" situation with two players down the field in the third round, the match-within-a-match followed much the same course as the battles they have enjoyed at more important moments. The US Open champion shot a 65 to the Scot's 70, with the most significant factor the serial reduction in Els' scores, following rounds of 70 and 69, while Montgomerie has not quite got into top gear after his Irish Open win last week.

"I feel I can go lower still," Els said. "My game is there, but Tom is a good front-runner. He is not going to back off and this is a good course for him. The golf course is in great shape but the weather is making it very playable."

Montgomerie suspected he was getting ahead of himself. "I think I am thinking about next week too much," he said. "I have one eye on Troon. I am not putting very well and it is hard to take his event in isolation."

Again, play was of the enjoying-the-scenery variety and not to the Scotsman's liking. "The whole business of slow play is just getting too much," Monty said. The problem here is a double green at the second and fourth, and a short hole (the fifth) being followed by a reachable par-five (the sixth).

"Colin and I are both quick players," Els added. "I still have not met a pro who wants to play slowly. If someone wants to play slow, there are 150 other players.

"In America, the pace is a bit brisker and they don't wait to warn players. You go out knowing you will get a one-stroke penalty if you are slow. Maybe there are guys here who wait to be warned and then speed up."

Greg Norman, who donned a flat Scottish cap for the occasion, was on eight under after a 69, and while the good news for Nick Faldo was that David Leadbetter turned up yesterday morning and the pair had a "good session", Faldo went backwards with a 72.

Fulke was one of 37 players to resume their second rounds at 6.45 in the morning. The Swede had played three holes when the thunderstorm came on Thursday, and he completed the front nine in the evening. Fulke resumed at the 10th and birdied five successive holes from the 11th in his 64. This was only the third cut he had made all season - at two over Jose Maria Olazabal missed his first of the year - and he picked up five more birdies in six holes on the front nine of his third-round 66.

GULFSTREAM LOCH LOMOND WORLD INVITATIONAL Leading third-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 198 T Lehman (US) 65 66 67. 200 P Fulke (Swe) 70 64 66. 202 S Jones (US) 69 65 68. 204 E Els (SA) 70 69 65. 205 G Norman (Aus) 68 68 69; P Curry 63 72 70. 206 P Stewart (US) 73 67 66; A Cabrera (Arg) 67 72 67; G Day (US) 66 72 68; P Broadhurst 68 70 68; M Gronberg (Swe) 68 69 69; J Haeggman (Swe) 63 72 71. 207 C Rocca (It) 70 71 66; P O'Malley (Aus) 71 68 68; T Purtzer (US) 68 69 70. 208 J Rask (Swe) 70 70 68; M James 72 71 65. 209 J Parnevik (Swe) 70 71 68, T Bjorn (Den) 72 67 70; C Montgomerie 69 70 70; L Mize (US) 70 69 70; M Hallberg (Swe) 67 71 71; P Hedblom (Swe) 73 70 66; L Westwood 70 73 66, S Field 68 68 73.

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