Gilford shines in glare of the sun scorching form

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The Independent Online
As this is the time of year when awards are handed out, the Mainichi Daily News of Tokyo wins the headline of the century gong for what appeared yesterday. "Faldo to World Tour: Bugger off." It succinctly sums up what the most successful Englishma n in these parts since Noel Coward thinks of Greg Norman's grand plan.

Norman, of course, is not at the Johnnie Walker World Championship at the Tryall Golf and Country Club where, during the second round yesterday the temperature rose to scorching and Ernie Els maintained his lead. Els, who is used to the sun on his back, shot 64 in the first round which gave him a three-stroke lead over the field and he maintained that over the front nine yesterday.

David Gilford, who is not used to the sun on his back or anywhere else come to that considering that he comes from Crewe, moved majestically through the field by going out in 32 and he advanced to five under par for the championship with further birdies at the 11th and 12th holes.

Gilford is definitely the first man from Crewe to appear on the leaderboard at the Johnnie Walker World Championship. He drew alongside Faldo, and a couple of major American losers like Loren Roberts and Tom Lehman. Lehman was the runner-up to Jose-MariaOlazabal in the Masters at Augusta in April and Roberts was the runner-up to Els in the US Open at Oakmont in Pittsburgh in June.

You may think this is a top-notch golf tournament, and you would be right, but the name of the game is to sell as many thousands of bottles of red label, black label and blue label as possible before they call time throughout the world on Christmas Eve.

United Distillers have spent $2m (£1.3m) on the course alone so it is a fair bet that the championship will return to Montego Bay next year. Puerto Rico has been mentioned as an alternative but that island has so many mosquitoes they would be taking punters home in transport marked with a red cross.

Anyway there is no stopping Gilford, the quiet man of the European Tour who sneaks up stealthily on the field, wins some big purses, like the European Open at East Sussex which got him into this tournament on merit, and then invests in enlarging his herdof Hereford cows by a bullock or two.

He continued to make progress, going out in 32 and coming home again in 32 for 64, which matched the score of Els in the first round.

Els is used to winning championships which have the word world involved, such the World Match Play and the Gene Sarazen World Open and he got to nine under par yesterday with birdies at the fourth, the seventh and the 11th. The fourth, a par-five of 496

yards, is particularly tricky. In the first round on Thursday Seve Ballesteros drove out of bounds and with a second ball secured his par by pitching in from 60 feet. Yesterday he went one better. His drive clipped a telegraph wire en route to the exoticundergrowth and. under the rules he was allowed to take his driving test again without a penalty stroke. He got a birdie at the hole, his only one of the front nine and his score of 72 left him three over par for the championship.

JOHNNIE WALKER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Montego Bay, Jamiaca) Early second-round scores: 138 F Couples (US) 73 65; 142 B Faxon (US) 72 70; 145 S Ballesteros (Sp) 73 72; 146 J Huston (US) 73 73; 147 F Zoeller (US) 73 74; 150 V Singh (Fiji) 75 75.

Davies keeps lead, page 43