Golf: Less is more for Gilford

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HAVING demonstrated that less can indeed mean more, David Gilford, the rising star of the European firmament, will continue to ration his competitive appearances as a means of keeping himself fresh throughout a season that he hopes will culminate in a Ryder Cup place.

Gilford, who leads the PGA European Tour with earnings of pounds 132,727, has played in six of the nine events this year, winning twice - most recently in Portugal last week - and finishing in the top 10 in the other four. In the last Ryder Cup, he was prevented from swinging a club in anger on the final day when his singles opponent, Steve Pate, withdrew.

'This is great for my confidence but I'm not changing my schedule,' Gilford said while preparing for the Kronenbourg Open at the Gardagolf Country Club, Salo, near Brescia, which starts today.

'I normally play 20 to 25 events each year and I'll play about the same again. Taking a break now and again, you come back refreshed.'

At Salo, Gilford, who hits more fairways and greens than anyone on the Tour, will be further encouraged by the fact that most of the top players are in America tuning up for the Masters. Among those also seeking to take advantage are Lincolnshire's Jim Payne, who won the Baleares Open two weeks ago, Sam Torrance, Howard Clark and Barry Lane, who remains on top of the Ryder Cup points table despite a recent lean spell.