Golf: Careless Lyle sweats over chilly prospects: Price sets pace in Honda Classic

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SANDY LYLE and Ian Woosnam, representing the Celtic fringe, lost ground on the leaders yesterday in the second round of the Honda Classic at the strangely named Weston Hills. The course is as flat as a flapjack but the Scotsman and the Welshman went out on a blustery, chilly morning.

In the first round there wasn't a sweater to be seen but in the second they were compulsory for the early starters. Lyle had a three-over-par 74 and was sweating over the halfway cut.

When he came off he gave a refrain that had a familiar ring to it. 'Just carelessness,' he said. 'My putting let me down. That's what's killing me. I've got too many negative thoughts.' Lyle, who won the Masters in 1988, had 34 putts in his first round of 71 and another 34 yesterday. 'That's about my average,' he lamented. Nevertheless, Lyle was later assured that he need not pay his hotel bill just yet. Lyle survived the cut.

There was a classic example of Lyle largesse at the 10th hole, a par four of 412 yards. He hammered a drive, downwind, of about 370 yards. Hang down your head, John Daly. But instead of getting a birdie Lyle got a five, taking three putts.

At the Turespana Masters in Jerez a couple of weeks ago, Lyle tried putting with his right hand above his left but here in Florida he reverted to the conventional grip. At the par-three fifth he very nearly did not need to putt at all. His six- iron flirted with the hole before finishing 12 inches past and he tapped in for a birdie two.

Woosnam, who won the Masters in 1991, achieved his limited ambition of surviving to the last two rounds. Starting at the 10th yesterday, he had a level-par 71 for an aggregate of 143, one over for the championship. 'My iron play was crap,' he said. 'I'm getting great big divots. Every time I try to draw the ball it goes right. I don't know what it is. I can't suss it out.'

David Feherty, who at one stage in the first round was at the top of the leaderboard, had a 79 yesterday, eight over par for the day, 11 over for the championship. 'I got off to a bad start and then fell away a bit,' he said. 'It's back to misery hill.' What undid the Northern Irishman was his putting on greens that got progressively quicker as the temperature rose.

When Feherty, who is now based in Dallas, teed off his group was watched by a solitary spectator, a man who knew a cousin of Feherty's. This was Feherty's fifth tournament in America since gaining his card at the US Tour qualifying school last December.

'I'm actually getting on top of my game in terms of hitting the ball,' he said, 'but when you hit a three-iron to three feet and miss the putt you begin to lose interest.' Asked how many putts he had in his round, Feherty replied: 'I've absolutely no idea. Plenty.'

The leaders were Brandel Chamblee and Ed Dougherty. Chamblee added a 68 to his first round of 67 and Dougherty shot the best score of the two rounds, a 65, one stroke outside the course record.

Nick Faldo, who began the day at one under, finished at two under after another 70. The biggest distraction to the Englishman has been his lack of confidence on the greens and last night he was experimenting on the practice ground with a pair of sunglasses last seen by skiers in the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer.

Daly described his enforced lay- off (a three-month suspension) as a blessing in disguise but there was no disguising the value to the sponsors here of the timing of his comeback.

They had already lost Fred Couples, the defending champion (bad back) and Phil Mickelson (double fracture following a skiing accident) who is second in the money list.

'Losing Couples was disastrous,' Clifford Danley, tournament chairman, said. 'We built our entire campaign around him. In the golf business there are very few players who sell tickets. People will pay to come and see Freddy play.'

Robert Gamez, beaten by Couples in a play-off here 12 months ago, missed the cut by a mile following rounds of 80 and 81. He has a pinched nerve in his back and he bowed out with a seven at the 18th.

Daly, who started at the 10th, got to four under at one stage yesterday, but dropped shots over the front nine. Daly finished with a 70, to stand at three under for the tournament, four behind the leaders.

Bernhard Langer, the joint overnight leader, dropped three strokes in three holes. He returned a 72. Like Daly he is at three under.

HONDA CLASSIC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) Leading second-round scores (US unless stated): 135 E Dougherty 70 65; B Chamblee 67 68. 136 B Lietzke 68 68. 137 N Price (Zim) 70 67. 138 C Strange 71 67; F Funk 70 68. 139 S Hoch 68 71; D Love 68 71; J Gallagher 68 71; B Langer (Ger) 67 72; J Daly 69 70. 140 M McCumber 68 72; K Perry 72 68; N Faldo (GB) 70 70. 141 E Humenick 70 71; C Parry (Aus) 68 73; B Fleisher 68 73, T Simpson 74 67; H Irwin 72 69; J McGovern 70 71; J Huston 70 71; M O'Meara 72 69. 142 D Edwards 70 72; T Purtzer 68 74; T Sieckmann 71 71; M Donald 71 71. 143 I Woosnam (GB) 72 71; J Woodland 68 75; B Sabel 70 73; N Lancaster 71 72. 144 B Tway 71 73; J Cook 72 72; G Hallberg 74 70; C DiMarco 71 73; P Goydos 73 71. Selected: 145 S Lyle (GB) 71 74. 153 D Feherty 74 79.