Golf: Ballesteros bids farewell: Spaniard has back problems as McHenry excels

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The Independent Online
A RECURRENCE of a back injury forced Seve Ballesteros to retire from the Dutch Open at Hilversum after only four holes yesterday, while Cork's John McHenry, Surrey's Richard Boxall, Kent's Peter Mitchell and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez all shot seven-under-par 65s to share the first round lead.

The 37-year-old Spaniard joined eight other players who also quit the event. 'I started feeling bad in the pro-am and had two lots of treatment, but today it was worse,' said Ballesteros before returning home to Pedrena, where his wife, Carmen, is expecting their third child.

Asked if he would be seeking more medical help between now and next fortnight's BMW International, Ballesteros said: 'I've had it up to here with doctors.'

McHenry, who has missed 11 halfway cuts in 17 starts this season, failed to qualify for the Open last week and fell to 143rd in the European money list. Yesterday saw a magnificent reversal in his fortunes, however, as he grabbed eight birdies to equal his lowest professional round.

Boxall chipped in for an eagle on the fourth and sank a 20ft putt for another at the 16th, while Jimenez, who had to take three weeks off recently after dropping a case of wine on his feet, eagled the 486yd 12th from 14ft and then finished his day's work with four straight birdies.

The Masters champion, Jose Maria Olazabal, and the US Open title-holder, Ernie Els, both looking forward to a rest next week, returned 70s, as did the Welshman Ian Woosnam. The defending champion, Colin Montgomerie, is lurking dangerously again following a 68.

HEINEKEN DUTCH OPEN (Hilversum) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 65 J McHenry, R Boxall, M A Jimenez (Sp), P Mitchell. 66 G Hjerstedt (Swe), J Rivero (Sp), D Gilford. 67 J Saxton (US), H Clark, R Claydon, M Mouland, M Farry (Fr), J Robinson, R Muntz (Neth). 68 G Brand Jnr, C Montgomerie, R Rafferty, B Hughes (Aus), R Drummond, K Eriksson (Swe), J McGovern (US), M Roe, D Clarke, A Sherborne, D A Russell.

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