Golf: Faldo misses the buzz

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO, the runaway leader of the European money list, had a bad day in the second round of the Lancome Trophy at the St Nom-la-Breteche course, near Paris, yesterday.

Faldo finished way down the field in joint 53rd place, with only nine players below him, after a round of 74 for a 36-hole aggregate of 144, four over par. The round put him 11 shots behind the leader, Eduardo Romero of Argentina, who is one shot clear of Ian Woosnam, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Tony Johnstone.

Faldo complained that he 'could find no buzz from the crowd to lift me' on one of his worst rounds of the year. 'This is my bogey tournament,' he said, 'and I've never done well here. I was struggling to find some oomph.'

He started well enough with an 18-foot birdie putt on the fourth to go one under overall, but then his troubles began.

Faldo went over the back of the fifth green to drop a shot, but it was the 364-yard 10th that sent him plummeting down among the also-rans. His wedge approach shot landed in a bunker, he took two to get out, was left with a tricky, downhill chip which he struck five feet past the pin and missed the short putt for a seven.

Another bunker cost him a shot at the 11th and he dropped another when he drove into the trees at the 14th before a birdie four at the long 16th brought him temporary relief.

Faldo thought the bunkers were too soft but was not so critical as Johnstone, who said: 'You sink so deep into the sand you need someone to throw you a rope to haul you out.'

While Faldo struggled, Woosnam and Olazabal both had their problems but scored well. The Welshman, who shot a 68 with six birdies and four bogeys, said: 'I can't seem to get my swing together.' For the second day running, Olazabal moaned about his play despite rounds of 65 and 69. 'I'm not happy at all,' he said. 'My game is pretty bad but I just managed to score well.'

At least Romero, who shot a 67, had no complaints: 'I played my best round of the year and when I eagled the 16th with a drive and a four-iron to two feet it was my best hole of the year.'

LANCOME TROPHY (St Nom-la-Breteche) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 133 E Romero (Arg) 66 67. 134 T Johnstone (Zim) 67 67; I Woosnam 66 68; J-M Olazabal (Sp) 65 69. 135 B Lane 66 69; G Brand Jnr 69 66; P Senior (Aus) 69 66. 136 J Rystrom (Swe) 69 67; S Richardson 68 68; V Fernandez (Arg) 66 70; P Mitchell 71 65; H Clark 67 69; M Roe 67 69. 137 C O'Connor Jnr 70 67; J-M Carriles (Sp) 66 71; J Payne 69 68. 138 B Langer (Ger) 70 68; I Baker-Finch (Aus) 71 67; B May (US) 68 70; M Farry (Fr) 67 71; S Torrance 69 69; I Palmer (SA) 71 67. 139 W Riley (Aus) 68 71; C Strange (US) 72 67; F Nobilo (NZ) 69 70; M James 69 70; T Levet (Fr) 71 68; J Spence 72 67; G Day (US) 68 71. 140 G Waite (NZ) 71 69; R Karlsson (Swe) 71 69; O Sellberg (Swe) 67 73; J Van de Velde (Fr) 70 70; M Mackenzie 72 68. 141 R Rafferty 72 69; J-M Canizares (Sp) 72 69; P Walton 69 72; C Mason 68 73; S Luna 68 73. 142 C Montgomerie 73 69; M Harwood (Aus) 70 72; M-A Jimenez (Sp) 70 72; B Ogle (Aus) 71 71; D Gilford 72 70. Selected: 144 N Faldo 70 74.