Golf: Frost catches late news of 10: Eagle-eyed Dane saves South African signing false card

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The Independent Online
ONE of the hallmarks of a course designed by Jack Nicklaus is that the last hole will burn itself into the memory. David Frost of South Africa, for one, will never forget the 18th here as he handed in a card that will probably find its way into the Guinness Book of Records.

Frost was on the leaderboard at four under par after 17 holes in the first round of the Carrolls Irish Open. When he was led off the 18th he was two over. Frost dropped six strokes with a 10. 'It had been an up and down sort of day,' he said, 'which definitely finished down.' Instead of finishing with a 68 he had a 74, but it could have been worse.

Frost, who was under the impression that he had scored eight at the last instead of 10, would have been disqualified for signing for an incorrect card but for the intervention of another player who was not even at the course. Anders Sorensen, who had earlier completed his round of 79, was watching the play on television and what he saw was this: Frost hooked his drive into a lake and when he took a penalty drop his ball rolled back towards the water. It came to rest fractionally outside the boundary of the hazard but when Frost addressed the ball his feet were within the line marked by the stake.

He took another drop and hit what he thought was his third shot into the water. He dropped another ball and, playing what he thought was his fifth shot, landed short of the green. He chipped on to the green and took two putts for an eight. Or so he thought. This is where Sorensen enters the picture. The Dane rang officials at Mount Juliet to tell them that Frost was in error. Andy McFee, the tournament director, got to the recorder's hut in time to prevent Frost from signing for an eight. What Sorensen realised was that Frost should not have taken a second drop but should have played the ball where it lay. Thus Frost was penalised an extra shot for picking his ball up and another one for failing to replace it.

There have been examples of eagle-eyed television watchers phoning officials with information that has led to players being disqualified. It happened to Jamie Spence in Rome this season. Sorensen's news on 10 was to save Frost from that fate.

'The situation is not irretrievable,' Frost said. He is eight strokes behind the leader, Brian Marchbank, who shot 66. Marchbank, a 35-year-old Scotsman, reverts occasionally to the Langer putting grip (right hand clamped to left forearm) and he had seven birdies. Bernhard Langer had a 68. He still has a problem with his neck but before going out visited an osteopath and a masseur. Langer described Mount Juliet as magnificent and, pain in the neck or not, only a fool would bet against him winning here.

Scores, Sporting Digest, page 37