Golf: Faldo goes fishing for his form: The world No 1 picks up six birdies and eight trout

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO gave the game, not to mention the fish, away yesterday when he rejuvenated his challenge for a third successive victory in the Carrolls Irish Open. The world No 1, whose game has fallen on troubled waters in the past month, shot 67, one of the best scores of the second round, and at five under par was within sight of the leaders.

Faldo had six birdies on top of eight trout. Fish and chips. 'It's nice to do something you enjoy doing,' Faldo said. He was referring to slinging his hook into the River Nore, which runs through the Mount Juliet estate, rather than hooking his swing. Each evening he is on the river bank. 'The fish rise at 10.05,' he said, 'and I'm in bed by 10.30.' In 25 minutes he caught eight trout - 'little wild things' - which he threw back.

The Irish Open, whether it be at Killarney or County Kilkenny, offers the fisherman bait and it is one of the reasons why Faldo does well in Ireland. At this rate IMG will demand appearance money for his exploits with the rod instead of the driver. 'He's been doing more fishing than Captain Ahab,' the catering manager of the Mount Juliet Hotel, said.

Two of Faldo's birdies came from beautifully judged chips and the rest, apart from a 30-foot putt at the eighth, from putts of tiddler length. 'I'm showing signs,' he said, without finishing the sentence. 'I'm working on bits all the time. A few more shots are going in the right direction.'

Faldo was three strokes behind his Ryder Cup colleague Jose-Maria Olazabal, who also had a 67 yesterday. Olazabal did not exactly eat Mount Juliet alive but, like Faldo, he had his telescope on a light at the end of a tunnel. 'I think I am getting there, I'm getting closer,' Olazabal said. 'This was my most satisfying round.'

John McHenry, from Cork, was the leader in the clubhouse at seven under par for the championship and just as he was talking about the perils of the 18th - 'it is a treacherous hole and it will give everybody problems' - Olazabal, standing on the 18th tee, cut his drive so far right his ball cleared the spectator railings. The metalwork is described as an immovable obstruction and the Spaniard was allowed a free drop.

At that point Olazabal behaved like a true professional. Behind the railings, of course, were spectators and his first thought was to drop the ball on the side occupied by the crowd. The grass would be trampled upon and he would have an easier shot to the green. As it happened he found the grass greener on the other side and although he could not reach the green with his second shot, he chipped close and rolled in a longish putt to save par.

At 476 yards, with a slight dog-leg left and a lake lapping the fairway, the 18th is a hole and a half. If they lengthened it slightly it could qualify as a par five and as it is its average score in the first round was 4.51. It would not have been quite so high had David Frost not taken a 10 on the first day. Yesterday Frost negotiated the 18th with a par four in a round of 69.

The half-way cut was made at plus three and another Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros, survived by one stroke.

CARROLLS IRISH OPEN (Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 136 J M Olazabal (Sp) 69 67. 137 J McHenry 67 70; P-U Johansson (Swe) 69 68; B Langer (Ger) 68 69. 138 O Karlsson (Swe) 71 67; M Farry (Fr) 72 66. 139 S Richardson 71 68; S Luna (Sp) 68 71; N Faldo 72 67; J Haeggman (Swe) 71 68. 140 A Forsbrand (Swe) 71 69. 141 S Bowman (US) 70 71; C Rocca (It) 71 70; R Goosen (SA) 69 72. 142 B Marchbank 66 76; A Hunter 72 70; A Lebouc (Fr) 68 74; M James 72 70; T Johnstone (Zim) 72 70; W Westner (SA) 73 69; P Walton 67 75; A Bossert (Swit) 70 72. 143 P Broadhurst 72 71; D Frost (SA) 74 69; I Woosnam 71 72; D W Basson (SA) 70 73; P Mayo 72 71; D Smyth 73 70; F Nobilo (NZ) 73 70; W Riley (Aus) 69 74. 144 D Hospital (Sp) 73 71; P Eales 73 71; A Oldcorn 71 73; D Feherty 72 72; E Romero (Arg) 73 71; R McFarlane 72 72; R Davis (Aus) 71 73; G Day (US) 71 73; R Lee 71 73. 145 J Robson 72 73; D Clarke 70 75; C Montgomerie 74 71; H Baiocchi (SA) 75 70; R Alvarez (Arg) 72 73.

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