Golf: Forsbrand falls with 14 at 17th

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The Independent Online
TO CALL the final qualifying for the Open Championship a lottery is not quite correct. With 480 players seeking 48 tee-times for Carnoustie on Thursday morning, everyone starts off with a one in 10 chance of getting through. Of course, this morning, with 18 holes of the two-round ordeal already gone, some of the players are dead certs and others are better off buying a ticket for the National Lottery.

One of the former is Per-Ulrik Johansson, while one of the latter is his former Swedish World Cup winning team-mate, Anders Forsbrand. He may not even tee up this morning after an 80 at Montrose Links yesterday. That was 17 strokes behind Johansson's new course record of 63, later equalled by New Zealand's Michael Long.

Forsbrand was progressing steadily enough, if not in the spectacular fashion of his countryman, when he took a 14 at the 17th hole. From one under par, he was now nine over.

It all went wrong from the tee as he pushed his drive out of bounds. The hole measures 416 yards but there is no margin for error in a lateral direction. His fourth shot (the second with his second ball) landed in the gorse that runs up the left-hand side. As he tried to identify the ball, it moved downwards but, rather than replace the ball, Forsbrand took a hack at it where it was.

And another, and another, and so on. Forsbrand hit, or attempted to hit the ball 11 times and had three penalty shots, one for the out-of-bounds and two when the ball moved while he was identifying it.

"It was a breach of rule 18 not to replace the ball," said the Royal and Ancient rules official Colin Strachan, "but he took it very well. He said: `Thank you, it is not your fault'."

Forsbrand, 38, has won six times on the European tour in a mixed career. A player the current crop of Swedes admire as a pioneering force for golf in their country, Forsbrand can produce horrendous scores when he loses confidence in his swing. Once, at a French Open at Paris National, he would not have broken 100 had he not run out of balls playing the last hole.

Johansson played in the last two winning European Ryder Cup teams but has not won a tournament for two years. The 32-year-old finished 57th at Loch Lomond on Saturday and then drove across the country and walked the Montrose course that evening.

"I had not seen the course before and maybe I should do it that way in future," he said. A gallery of between 300 and 400 enjoyed watching the Swede collect nine birdies and only one bogey.

"It was nice to be watched by people who know the game and applaud your shots when they deserve it. I didn't play well at Loch Lomond, my swing is too sensitive for wet courses like that. But my game suits links golf and that showed today."

South Africa's Wayne Westner, who was disqualified at Loch Lomond on Thursday for failing to play out the 10th hole, led at Monifieth with a 65, one ahead of Gary Wolstenholme, the former Amateur champion, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and India's Jeev Singh.

Dunbar's David Drysdale, a pro of four years, shared a 67 at Downfield with the American Tom Gillis and Zimbabwe's Sean Farrell, while Jean Hugo, last year's South African Amateur champion who turned pro a month ago, had a 66 at Panmure.

Hugo, 23, has been playing golf for only eight years and claims never to have had a lesson. "I usually drive pretty straight and I prefer playing in the wind because you have more control of the ball," he said.

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