Golf: Gardener James scents success

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The Independent Online
RONAN RAFFERTY and Mark James will be tackling the Jersey Open at La Moye today after rejecting invitations to the US Open. Rafferty, who was once fined because he left the US Open to 'go to the toilet', decided against playing at Oakmont because he could not secure enough practice time in America. James, quite simply, says he dislikes the way the US Open courses are set up.

The 40-year-old James, who was third last year behind Ian Palmer and Sam Torrance, is in danger of being tagged an occasional golfer after appearing in only four European Tour events before La Moye. That has left him 80th in the European money list, but he did finish seventh in his last outing - the Volvo PGA at Wentworth.

And, with a pounds 58,330 first prize, courtesy of Jack Walker, the Blackburn Rovers owner whose European Airways is sponsoring the event, James will be taking the tournament seriously, even if he says his preparation for the island course has been 'gardening'.