Golf: Nelson keeps an eye on the younger generation: Veteran produces one of his best rounds as Faldo misses the Doral Open cut and Ballesteros falls by the wayside in Torrevieja

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The Independent Online
THE 46-year-old Larry Nelson continued the trend of older golfers shooting lower scores at Doral as he tore through the back nine in 29, only the third time in tournament history a player has broken 30 on a nine here at the Blue Monster. Nelson shot an eight-under-par 64 to take the half-way lead at seven under par at the Doral Open.

Nelson, the man most likely to captain the 1997 Ryder Cup team in Spain, had just 11 putts on his final nine, one of them a four-footer for an eagle. Nelson said: 'I played well, and I putted well, obviously. You have to putt well, I don't know anyone who can hit good enough to shoot 29. I had my youngest son, Josh, caddying for me for the first time, and I used his 15-year-old eyes to line up the putts for me, and that gave me a little more confidence than just my 46-year-old eyes would have. By the back nine I got kind of lost in the round, just having fun.'

The 64 was one of the best rounds of Nelson's 21-year career, and only his second round all year in the 60s. He leads his fellow Americans, John Huston and Dick Mast, by a stroke.

The two first-round co-leaders, Raymond Floyd and Jim Thorpe, did not fare well yesterday, with Thorpe shooting an up-and-down round that finally ended up at level- par 72; at four under he is alone in sixth place. Floyd was keeping pace with the leaders half the day, then had a disastrous back nine, dropping five strokes in eight holes before birdieing the 18th to shoot 76.

Several of the biggest names of the tournament moved back into position yesterday, with Davis Love III shooting a 68 to move into the top 10, though still six shots behind Nelson. Fred Couples, with the defending champion, Greg Norman the pre-tournament favourite, was two under yesterday to get back to even par for the tournament. Norman shot a 74 and ended up one over par.

On Thursday, when the wind was howling, Nick Faldo was a stroke off the lead before stumbling at the finish with three bogeys over the closing four holes. Yesterday, with conditions far calmer, Faldo was still struggling, one over par for the day for nine holes but still easily within the cut-line. Even when he made another bogey and came to the 18th hole three over par, with the cut at four over, there seemed little danger. However, Falso's second shot at the par four, a wedge, went into the lake that lines the left side of the fairway and green, and he found himself over a seven-foot bogey putt to make the cut. He pulled the putt slightly. 'I putted very poorly and I'm very disappointed,' Faldo said.

DORAL-RYDER OPEN (Doral Country Club, Blue Course) Leading second-round scores (US unless stated): 137 L Nelson 73 64. 138 D Mast 69 69; J Huston 70 68. 139 B Bryant 70 69. 140 J Thorpe 68 72. 142 N Lancaster 71 71; L Clements 72 70. 143 B Burns 70 73; D Love III 75 68; D A Weibring 74 69. 144 J Ozaki (Jap) 75 69; B Lohr 72 72; F Funk 73 71; G Hallberg 71 73; M Carnevale 72 72. 145 C Strange 73 72; C Beck 74 71; S Hoch 72 73; J Blake 74 71. Selected: 149 N Faldo (Eng) 73 76.

The American golfer, Phil Mickelson, who lies second on the US Tour money list, has broken his leg in a skiing accident and will be out of action indefinitely. Mickelson broke his femur when he slipped and hit a tree while skiing at Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff, Arizona. He had a pin inserted from his hip to his knee. 'There won't be a cast, and he should recover in four to six weeks, more or less,' his agent, Steve Loy, said.