Golf: Ballesteros exits under a cloud: Lane stays in the clear as defending champion edges closer

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SEVE BALLESTEROS headed home from Majorca yesterday under the cloud of his second missed cut in a row, having narrowly avoided last place after the second round of the Turespana Balearic Open.

Only a round of 83 from the Welshman, Mark Mouland, spared Ballesteros as the Spaniard finished in 138th place, 13- over-par. A 79 to add to his opening 78 left him 23 strokes behind the leader, Barry Lane.

Ballesteros, without a win for exactly two years, began this season 'cautiously optimistic' after working on his fitness in Arizona during the winter. But he will return to America in 10 days for the Players' Championship and US Masters with all the old questions still to be answered.

The former Masters and Open champion, world No 1 in 1989 but now only No 38,

offered no clues as to what the answers will be. 'I'm not ready to analyse yet,' he said. 'I'm going to enjoy the weekend, take a break from practising for a few days and then start working again.'

Even more embarrassing for Ballesteros is the fact that he has won the event three times, including a 19-under-par finish three years ago.

Lane, who goes into the third round today one shot ahead of the defending champion, Jim Payne, after adding a 70 to his course-record 64, believes he can help Ballesteros. 'He's going to have to ask, though, because it's not my place to say anything,' said the 33-year-old from Ascot, whose first eight years as a professional were spent teaching the game as much as playing it.

'Seve is going through a really tough time and is so screwed up that he doesn't have a clue,' he went on. 'I can tell him exactly what he is doing but one of the problems is that you can get too much advice sometimes. He's got to do it himself and he needs to be mentally right. You've got to try something totally different - like playing left-handed]'

Lane was six strokes clear at one point in the day but Payne kept alive his hopes of a successful defence when four birdies in his last six holes gave him a 68.

In third place on eight-under is the 20-year-old rookie from Worksop, Lee Westwood, whose round of 67 - including a double-bogey six at the 15th, but birdies at 16 and 18 - was further evidence of his potential. He has survived the halfway cut in all his seven starts so far and has been on four leaderboards, with a best finish of fifth three weeks ago. His earnings already stand at over pounds 19,000.

BALEARIC OPEN (Majorca) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 134 B Lane 64 70. 135 J Payne 67 68. 136 L Westwood 69 67. 138 W Westner (SA) 68 70; S Struver (Ger) 71 67. 139 R Karlsson (Swe) 68 71; M Wills 71 68; P Lawrie 74 65; J Rivero (Sp) 72 67; G Hjerstedt (Swe) 70 69. 140 P Teravainen (US) 71 69; M Clayton (Aus) 67 73; A Sorensen (Den) 72 68; S Luna (Sp) 68 72; E Giraud (Fr) 69 71; M Davis 73 67; A Collison 69 71. 141 F Lindgren (Swe) 72 69; J Robinson 73 68; P Price 70 71; I Garbutt 69 72; P Golding 71 70; J M Carriles (Sp) 71 70; A Mednick (Swe) 70 71; C Stromberg (Swe) 70 71; A Lebouc (Fr) 72 69; J Robson 70 71. Selected: 157 S Ballesteros (Sp) 78 79.

(Photograph omitted)