Golf: Brand as cool as the frost

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GORDON BRAND JNR hit a sand-iron to near perfection for a birdie three at the fourth hole to lead the field at six under par just as darkness halted play early in the second round of the ill-fated inaugural Chemapol Czech Open at Marienbad yesterday.

Brand still has three holes to complete his round, which, like the opening round, is being decided over 15 holes because frost again delayed the start of play by more than two hours for the second successive day.

The 36-year-old Brand had begun his second round as joint leader with his fellow Scot, Sam Torrance, and the New Zealander, Frank Nobilo, after all three had shot 54, five under par.

Torrance, suffering from tonsilitis, fell back to four under after playing 11 holes yesterday in one over par, while Nobilo completed his second round in 59 for a total of 113, five under par. But Brand, starting at the eighth hole, had birdies at the 12th and fourth and only one bogey, at the 17th, where he drove into a bush.

'The weather was a lot warmer,' Brand said. 'I didn't play quite so well as yesterday but not bad considering the conditions. I was pleased with my last hole because, though it was getting dark, I hit my sand-iron stone dead and could just tap it in.'

Brand leads Nobilo by one shot with Torrance, the Australian, Robert Allenby, who has played 26 holes, Sweden's Klaus Eriksson, who has played 23, and Barry Lane - who shot a second-round 55 - all on four under par.

Spain's Seve Ballesteros is one over par with four holes still to play while Bernhard Langer, of Germany, is one under after a second round of 58.