Golf: Langer homes in on leaders

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The Independent Online
BERNHARD Langer and England's Paul Broadhurst both produced superb rounds, late in the day, to share the lead with Darren Clarke on 133, 11 under par after the second round of the Deutche Bank SAP Open in Hamburg yesterday.

Langer, who specialises in winning on German soil, was first in with a six under par 66 with six birdies and no bogeys on his card. Shortly after Broadhurst shot 65 with eight birdies and just one dropped shot.

Colin Montgomerie and Clarke picked up where they left off at the Volvo PGA Championship last week as they battled with Frenchman Jean Van de Velde for the early lead.

Clarke snatched the lead with a 66 for a two-round aggregate of 133, 11 under par, with Montgomerie and Van de Velde, just one behind after both men had shot a second successive 67.

Montgomerie stressed that being in contention week in and week out was a tiring business. The Scot, winner of the PGA last Monday, said: "I've been in contention now three weeks running and it does take it out of you. It's nice to be in contention but in some ways I feel you have to be fresh to win but we'll see what happens over the next few days. I'll be trying my hardest, obviously, because I know if I do win I'll go to the top of the Order of Merit after just four events. That's my goal."

Clarke, winner of the Benson and Hedges tournament just two weeks ago, had a completely opposite view. The Ulsterman is five years younger than Montgomerie at 29, but when told of the Scot's views on being in contention he said: "I'm where I want to be in tournaments, up there contending for our bigger events and this is one of them. I'm not tired at all. I'm very keen, very eager, to get myself into this position as often as possible."

Midway through the morning a thunderstorm caused a three-hour suspension, which led to Clarke making one of only two mistakes in his round. Starting at the 10th, he had had two birdies plus an eagle three at the 17th before his first error, at the 18th, failing to get up and down from a bunker.

But he then birdied the first and second to go to 10 under and had just driven off at the long third when the players were brought into the safety of the clubhouse. As Clarke explained later: "It was a par five and I needed a three iron to reach the green in two. But after the rain my ball was wet and heavy and in a tight lie and I decided to hit a two iron which I hit into the water in front of the green. Fortunately I played a good pitch to get up and down to save par." Another birdie at the long sixth took Clarke to 11 under.

Montgomerie made only one error, when he struck a bad wedge shot at the sixth and took a bogey six but he had six birdies on his card while Van de Velde had five birdies, one eagle and two bogeys .