Golf: Norman enjoys English Turn on road to Augusta

There are two main reasons why golfers are here this week. A few are simply taking the opportunity to play the week before the US Masters. Others need to be here to give themselves a chance to play at Augusta.

Payne Stewart is one of the latter. Greg Norman, Steve Elkington and Jose-Maria Olazabal are here for the first reason. Norman needs the outing before he returns to Augusta as he has played only three full tournaments this year.

After reaching a play-off at the Dubai Desert Classic, when he lost to his fellow Australian Richard Green, Norman's performances have since gone downhill. In the last round of the Players Championship last Sunday, the Shark shot a 79, his highest score on the US Tour for nine years.

Norman started with three birdies in his first four holes, having started at the 10th tee. After a bogey at the 17th, he holed from 30 feet at the 18th for a birdie and picked up two more shots on the front nine. Norman, who rose at 5 a.m. for his 7.36 tee-time, was happy enough with his 67. "The more I play, the better I feel about things," he said.

Norman was two behind Larry Rinker, who had birdies on four of his last six holes, David Toms, and the defending champion, Scott McCarron.

Stewart, who shot 69, was one of Norman's playing partners and is hoping to emulate Davis Love's performance two years ago. Love was not exempt for the Masters and won here before finishing second at Augusta. Stewart's exemption for winning the 1991 US Open has run out and a victory here is his only hope of not missing the Masters next week.

The shortage of leading names here suggests English Turn is not considered ideal preparation for tackling the cathedral of pines in Augusta. Under grey skies, the exposed layout runs through a housing estate that is as featureless as Bourbon Street is colourful. Norman, however, thinks highly of it as a test of golf. He has finished second here on three occasions and fourth on his only other appearance, so the resemblance to Augusta is very real for him.

Olazabal returned a level-par 72, but following Seve Ballesteros's withdrawal on Wednesday with flu, the small European contingent was further reduced when Sam Torrance quit after 10 holes with tendinitis in his left wrist and probably will dwindle further today since Per-Ulrik Johansson faces a struggle to make the cut after an 82.

"I hit my drive at the second, and it hurt like hell," Torrance said. Having missed four of his five cuts so far this year, the Scot, who has been suffering from gout, damaged his wrist while practising extensively last weekend. He was six over par after taking a triple bogey at the 18th and a double at the first.

"I had to take three Advils to play for the last two days and last night in my room could hardly swing a club. I don't want to mess it up for next week so I'll go straight to Augusta, have a couple of days rest and see how it is. This year has been a never ending saga."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor