Golf: Faldo's lament

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO, happy with a first-round 67 completed before lightning stopped play for 70 minutes in the Belgian Open yesterday, would like nothing better than to be left in peace as he strives for perfection on the golf course.

Faldo was criticised by Peter Alliss for his attitude at the PGA Championship at Wentworth last week, and then by the media for refusing to attend a press conference. 'Looking at some of the headlines you would have thought I had run around with a machete, cutting people's heads off,' Faldo said. 'There has been an aggressive flow of nasty headlines, but I suppose you must not complain. You only get these type of headlines at the Open championship and other important events.

'I suppose the PGA championship must be becoming far more important. But these type of damaging headlines make you look bad and all I want to do is play golf and get on with my own life.'

Yesterday, Faldo went out in 34, with a birdie at the second and a bogey at the seventh, where he drove into a bunker. He followed up with another birdie at the long 12th, and then finished his round with three successive birdies. His 67 left him two shots behind the joint leaders, Barry Lane and Spain's Jose- Manuel Carriles.

'I only had 30 putts, and it was a nice strong finish and that makes your day,' Faldo said. Ian Woosnam shot a creditable one-under-par 70 in the worst of the weather but the Irishman, Darren Clarke, who won this event last year, finished with a disappointing 77.

ALFRED DUNHILL BELGIAN OPEN (Knokke-le-Zoute) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 65 J-M Carriles (Sp), B Lane. 67 D Hospital (Sp), N Faldo, I Garrido (Sp), C Montgomerie. 68 D Williams, M Clayton (Aus). 69 P Fulke (Swe), A Sherborne, O Karlsson (Swe), V Singh (Fij), W Westner (SA), P Hedblom (Swe), G Brand Jnr, B Langer (Ger), M Roe, R Wessels (SA), P Curry, A Murray.