Golf: Faldo stays in sight of lead

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The Independent Online
ONCE normal service resumed in the Peugeot Spanish Open yesterday - there was no thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening - there was the abnormal and almost equally unsettling sight of Nick Faldo playing like a mere mortal. That, of course, was good enough to give him a chance of winning yet another title in the final round today.

After frantic scheduling and kind weather yesterday the championship is back on course. Faldo, the world No 1, completed his second round on Friday night in darkness by holing a 25ft putt. The only thing he could see, on a course long abandoned by spectators, was a neon sign flashing the scores on the leader board. It showed Faldo at six under par and when he sank the putt at the last into a hole he could not see he went to seven under, one stroke behind Mats Lanner.

Faldo and Sandy Lyle drove back to the city and stopped for a take- away. 'I ate it at 10 to 11 and was in bed by 11,' Faldo said. 'That's the glorious life on tour.' Faldo was able to enjoy a lie-in yesterday morning. Lyle headed for the airport after missing the cut and Ian Woosnam, one of 42 players who did not finish the second round on the second day, had to rise at 5.30am. He had to play four holes and birdied the 17th and 18th to catch Faldo at seven under.

When the second round was completed, 68 players on one over par and better survived the halfway cut. Faldotopped his second shot at the first; he missed the fairway at the second and missed the green at the third. 'I started with four bad swings,' he said. 'My legs were all over the place. I was searching for something and I've found out what I've got to work on.' Fast-food joints are out.

Despite the aberrations, he shot a level-par 72, as did Woosnam, and they are locked together at seven under, along with Lanner and Peter Baker, only two strokes off the lead. That is shared by the Swede Joakim Haeggman and the South African Ernie Els. Yesterday the greatest difficulty was in reading greens softened by rain and marked by players' spikes.

Even so, several impressive scores were returned. Heinz-Peter Thul, who nearly became another Heinz variety in the first round when his umbrella was hit by lightning, shot 66, Miguel Jimenez 65 and Seve Ballesteros 69.

PEUGEOT SPANISH OPEN (RAC Club, Madrid) Leading third-round scores (GB or Irl unless): 207 J Haeggman (Swe) 69 69 69; E Els (SA) 70 68 69. 208 M-A Jimenez (Sp) 71 72 65. 209 P Baker 70 69 70; M Lanner (Swe) 72 64 73; I Woosnam 67 70 72; N Faldo 68 69 72. 210 J-M Olazabal (Sp) 74 69 67; M Krantz (Swe) 70 71 69, H-P Thul (Ger) 72 72 66; J Hobday (SA) 70 70 70; M James 69 71 70; D Clarke 69 71 70. 211 D Gilford 73 70 68. 212 R Rafferty 68 74 70; S Ballesteros (Sp) 69 74 69; M Besanceney (Fr) 74 69 69. 213 R Chapman 70 72 71; C Rocca (It) 76 68 69; M Pinero (Sp) 72 68 73; S Luna (Sp) 71 67 75. Selected: 214 P Broadhurst 69 75 70. 215 A Forsbrand (Swe) 70 73 72; V Singh (Fiji) 72 70 73; G Brand Jnr 68 73 74. 217 D Feherty 72 72 73.

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