Golf: Baker sets British standard

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PETER BAKER, of England, with a five-under-par 67, shares the lead with Sweden's Anders Forsbrand after the first-round of the Scandinavian Masters in Kungsbacka, Sweden yesterday.

Scotland's Sam Torrance, who is second in the European Order of Merit, headed a group of six players on 68, including his compatriot, Colin Montgomerie, the winner in 1991, Jamie Spence, of England, David Feherty, of Northern Ireland, and Paul Affleck, of Wales.

Nick Faldo, the world's top-ranked player, began his defence of the title with a 69. Faldo, who finished runner-up to Greg Norman in the British Open two weeks ago, was tied for ninth with Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty and Frank Nobilo, of New Zealand.

'It wasn't too bad,' said Faldo, who had one bogey and four birdies. 'I had some good shots, but I didn't make my putts.'

The Englishman is 26 under par for his last nine rounds on the European Tour. Two weeks before the Open, Faldo won the Irish Open for the second year in a row.

Seve Ballesteros' slump shows no sign of coming to an end after he shot a three-over-par 75. The Spaniard, three-times champion of this event, is now without a tournament victory in the last 18 months and has dropped to 68th on the European Order of Merit.

SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS (Gothenburg, Swe) Leading first-round scores: (GB unless stated): 67 P Baker, A Forsbrand (Swe). 68 P Affleck, O Nordberg (Swe), S Torrance, J Spence, D Feherty, C Montgomerie. 69 N Faldo, F Nobilo (NZ), M McNulty (Zim). 70 D R Jones, G Turner (NZ), P Eales, D W Basson (SA), R Mann, S Richardson, J McHenry (Irl), M Roe. 71 S Bowman (US), G Brand Jnr, B Lane, P Way, D Clarke, *C Hanell (Swe), S Ames (Trin and Tob), B Marchbank, *L Westerberg (Swe), R Rafferty, T Johnstone (Zim), S Struver (Ger), P Walton, R Drummond, E Els (SA), M Mouland. 72 J Robinson, G Evans, C Rocca (It), G Orr, A Bossert (Swit), R Winchester, J-M Carriles (Sp), D Ray, M-A Jimenez (Sp), J Payne, M Lundberg (Swe), D Cooper, S Bennett, P-U Johansson (Swe), M Harwood (Aus), D A Russell, R Davis (Aus), R Karlsson (Swe), S Grappasonni (It), *H Nystrom (Swe). Selected: 73 P McGinlay (Irl), J-M Olazabal (Sp). 75 E Darcy (Irl), E O'Connell (Irl).

*denotes amateur