Golf: Lane on song with birdies

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IAN WOOSNAM, the former world No 1 who shot an 80 to miss the cut in last week's US PGA Championship, was in joint fifth position with a five-under-par 67, three shots behind Barry Lane, of Berkshire, after the first day of the German Open at Hubbelrath yesterday.

Lane equalled the course record with six birdies and an eagle on the long eighth, where he found the green with a four-iron and holed from 15 feet.

The 32-year-old, still chasing a second tour victory four years after capturing the Scottish Open, said: 'The greens are treacherous but I have a good feeling. I had 22 birdies in a tournament in Japan last week and was fifth here last year.'

He leads by one from New Zealander Frank Nobilo, and two from Fiji's Vijay Singh and the Lancastrian John Hawksworth.

Hawksworth, 31, has missed 17 cuts in 23 starts this season, but he made the shot of the day - a three-iron hole-in-one on the 221-yard 11th.

Woosnam's recovery in form stemmed from a practice session before the first round when, by tucking a towel under his arms and trying to swing, he discovered he was standing too far from the ball.

'I feel I'm getting somewhere,' said Woosnam, who had stated only 24 hours earlier that if the Ryder Cup was being held next month he would not want to play.

He was one over par after five holes but then holed a 100-yard bunker shot for an eagle three at the 562-yard sixth.

'That got me on a roll,' Woosnam said. He came home in 32 with four birdie putts of between five and 10 feet.

VOLVO GERMAN OPEN (Hubbelrath, Dusseldorf) Leading first-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 64 B Lane; 65 F Nobilo (NZ); 66 V Singh (Fiji), J Hawksworth; 67 C Rocca (It), E Giraud (Fr), I Woosnam; 68 G Day (US), M Mackenzie, S McAllister, P O'Malley (Aus), P Way, G Levenson (SA), P-U Johansson (Swe); 69 E Romero (Arg), M Farry (Fr), M Brooks (US), G Brand Jnr (US), R Davis (Aus), J Carriles (Sp), D Pooley (US), J Sewell, J Spence, K Trimble (Aus), J M Canizares (Sp), J Coceres (Arg), A Postligione (Ger), A Cejka (Ger), J Rutledge (Can); 70 G Turner (NZ), J Haeggman (Swe), K Waters, P Curry, S Little, M Moreno (Sp), R Claydon, F Lindgren (Swe), S Grappasonni (It), R Karlsson (Swe), S Struver (Ger), W Grady (Aus), J Parnevik (Swe), M Poxon, M Roe, P Walton, H Baiocchi (SA), R Lee; 71 S Bowman (US), G Cali (It), J Berendt (Arg), A Sherborne, H Thuel (Ger), J Quiros (Sp), E O'Connell, M A Jimenez (Sp), B Barnes, D Gilford, G Turner, B Ogle (Aus), P Baker, I Palmer (SA), H Selby-Green. Selected: 72 M McLean, S Richardson, M Gates, A Murray, B Langer (Ger), D J Russell, D Silva (Por), G J Brand, A Sorensen (Den), M Davis, R McFarlane, P Price, T Giedeon (Ger), J Metcalfe, P Hall, R Boxall, W Westner (SA), C Mason, T Levet (Fr), M Lanner (Swe); 73 M Sunesson (Swe); 74 J Rivero (Sp), S Torrance, E Darcy. Retired: M Mouland. Withdrew: D Smyth, P Lonard (Aus), U Zilg (Ger), D R Jones.