Golf: Lanner storms into lead

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The Independent Online
FOUR DAYS after Jesper Parnevik and Jarmo Sandelin won on both sides of the Atlantic, Swedish golfers were in form again yesterday.

Mats Lanner scored a 10-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead in the Fiat and Fila Italian Open, while his compatriot Per Nyman lies joint second with England's Gary Evans following a 65.

Lanner's round, which equalled the lowest on the European Tour this season, promised to be even better. He had an eagle at the first, turned in a seven-under 29 and then had a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th - the last of them a 25-foot putt.

At 10 under with a par five to come, the chance to become the first man ever to break 60 on the circuit - Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval have achieved the feat in America - was there. That hope evaporated when the 38-year-old Swede made only a five on the 557-yard 15th and had a bogey at the 16th after missing the green. But Lanner, who after losing his tour card in 1996 grabbed it back in style last year by winning the Madeira Island Open, sank a 10-foot putt for his ninth birdie at the 17th and was delighted with a round that was nine better than the Masters champion, Jose Maria Olazabal, and 10 better than the US Open champion, Lee Janzen.

Aside from the 25-foot effort he sank three 20-footers and an 18-footer to break the CircoloGolf course record by three. Joint fourth following 66s are Derrick Cooper and Russell Claydon.