Golf: Four talents to follow in the new season

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The Independent Online
JIM PAYNE

Aged 22. Order of Merit: 33rd ( pounds 148,352).

If 1991 was an eventful year for Payne - he was the leading amateur in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and played in the Walker Cup - 1992 represented a dream start to his professional career. He was an unpromising 34th on his first visit to the qualifying school but regularly picked up cheques and, after an epic struggle with Gary Evans, another graduate of the school, Payne emerged as Rookie of the Year. His natural habitat is Sandilands, a links in Lincolnshire. Gangly and tall but down to earth, he should be even better this year. Still learning but learns fast.

ROBERT KARLSSON

Aged 23. Order of Merit: 22nd ( pounds 196,577).

The 6ft 4in Karlsson, who turned professional in 1989, is steadily making his presence felt. Was 62nd in the money list in 1991 after finishing third in the Scandinavian Masters. Last season he finished runner-up to David Gilford in the Moroccan Open, was fifth in the Open and was the only player to push Nick Faldo all the way in the European Open at Sunningdale. Faldo was impressed with the Swede, who shot 64 in the first round, when they played together in the final round. Karlsson plays with extra-long clubs and gets extra-long distance. Should go far.

MARK ROE

Aged 29. Order of Merit: 18th ( pounds 209,658).

Roe, a garrulous Yorkshireman, had his first success in the Catalan Open in 1989 and beat a strong field to win the Lancome Trophy last September. The cheque for pounds 79,000 counts in the Ryder Cup table. Put together another four good rounds to finish sixth in the Johnnie Walker World Championship. If he can stay out of trouble - he damaged an ankle and an elbow in accidents and a knee when a wasp disappeared up his trouser leg at Sunningdale - the fidgety Roe could have a year to remember. Most players list their interests as snooker and fishing. Roe has diving and trampolining.

JAMIE SPENCE

Aged 29. Order of Merit: 10th ( pounds 287,956).

Made a few bob in 1991 after five visits to the qualifying school but hit the jackpot last year. Set himself goals and achieved the lot. Spence made the breakthrough with an extraordinary victory in the European Masters in Switzerland. Ten shots off the lead going into the final round, he shot 60 and then won a play-off. Captained England to victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews and paid off the mortgage of his house at Tunbridge Wells. Also paid the training bills of his horse, Pepper the Pin, a regular at the equine equivalent of the qualifying school.

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