Golf: No place like home for resilient Langer

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The Independent Online
Bernhard Langer bounced back from failing to make his first half- way cut in 69 European starts to move within one stroke of the first-round lead in the Deutsche Bank Open in Hamburg yesterday.

He trails the New Zealander Frank Nobilo, who shot a seven-under-par 65 to head a strong field that includes Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam and Seve Ballesteros.

Langer was left in joint second place on 66 with Richard Boxall, Lee Westwood, the Norwegian Oyvind Rojahn, Robert Allenby of Australia and two Swedes, Jarmo Sandelin and Per Nyman.

Langer is attempting to win a 10th European Tour event in Germany, and set a target which only Nobilo could overtake. On a day which started with drizzle and ended in sunshine, he had seven birdies and only one bogey on his card.

Langer's performance only served to emphasise his resilience. Last Saturday he failed to make the cut at the Volvo PGA championship at Wentworth - a failure which ended his record run of playing in all four rounds of European Tour tournaments.

Yesterday, though, the winner of five German Opens, two German Masters and the present tournament twice, clearly enjoyed himself on native soil. "I just feel at home," he said. "I love my own country. I like the food, I like the support I get. Perhaps it gives me greater motivation."

Nobilo, who, like Langer, started at the 10th hole, had no doubts as to why he played so well. "It was the sun on my back. It is as simple as that," he said. "I played the first nine holes in drizzle and got only one birdie. But then the sun came out and for the first time in three weeks I could throw off my waterproofs and enjoy myself."

On his second nine he had four birdies and an eagle three at the 537- yard third, which he completed with a drive, four iron and 25-foot putt.

Boxall, Westwood, Sandelin, Allenby, Rojahn and Nyman all then came home in turn to challenge Nobilo but not to catch him on a day when level par was a poor score.

Woosnam, on 72, could manage only that while Montgomerie shot 71 and Ballesteros 70. All three will have to play well today if they are to make the cut which could be as low as two under par.

n Sheffield golfer Mark Roe has withdrawn from the US Open in Oakland Hills next month to concentrate on rebuilding his European career. Roe, 33, has missed the half-way cut in seven of his 10 European tournaments this year and is worried about his form.

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