Golf: Norman keeps rolling - Sport - The Independent

Golf: Norman keeps rolling

ON SEVE BALLESTEROS' 42nd birthday, when the two-time champion missed the cut but the 19-year-old amateur, Sergio Garcia, qualified for the weekend on his debut at Augusta, Jose Maria Olazabal proved he was not the forgotten generation of Spanish golf by taking the lead after the second round of the 63rd US Masters.

A week after missing the cut in the BellSouth Classic and saying he had "no confidence", Olazabal also led a revival in European fortunes. His 66, to reach eight under and lead by one from Scott McCarron, equalled the best round of the day set earlier by Bernhard Langer.

Olazabal, the 1994 winner who two years later watched the event at home on television because he could not walk, was back to his inspired self around the greens. His chip from behind the green at the 15th was exquisite. "It was a scary shot," he said. "Every shot on that hole after the drive is scary."

It was at the par five, usually the easiest hole on the course, that David Duval took an eight by finding the pond, as the world No 1 dropped back to one over, nine off the lead. He was a shot worse off than Tiger Woods, who visited the water at the 12th for a double bogey.

Three years after losing a six-stroke lead to Nick Faldo, Greg Norman again set the early pace at Augusta National with a 68 to go to five under, alongside Lee Janzen. Ironically, as Norman again showed his insatiable desire for a green jacket, Faldo, the three-time winner, missed the cut for the third consecutive time since his last mighty performance here.

After an 80 on Thursday, which saw him down at the bottom of the leaderboard with the likes of the 67-year-old Billy Casper and the 76-year-old Doug Ford, Faldo returned a 73 before mumbling such phrases as "it's a fine line at the moment" and "there's always next week".

Norman, who had shoulder surgery following last year's Masters and was out of the game for nine months, was not too keen on his low profile entry to the Masters. The 44-year-old put that right by going to the turn in 34 and then making a birdie at the 12th from 20 feet and a four at the next. In untypical Norman fashion, he laid up at the par-five but then hit a good pitch and holed the putt.

A runner-up three times, the Shark also has two thirds here. As well as 1996, his Masters disasters include Larry Mize chipping in to win at the second extra hole in 1987. "If I never play another round of golf here, I have a lot to cherish from Augusta," Norman said. "I have taken a lot of great things out of the Masters and if I don't ever win it, I'd still say the tournament has put a great stamp on my life."

Colin Montgomerie briefly held the lead when he eagled the third. After his complaint on Thursday about not getting on the leaderboard at the 18th, the locals were probably right to list his hole-by-hole scores only on the bottom rung yesterday. The Scot immediately had three bogeys in a row and was taken off.

At the 350 yards, par 4 third, Montgomerie actually missed the fairway on the right but from the semi-rough cut a 90-yard wedge shot from under the branches of a pine. It dropped for his first eagle in 28 rounds at Augusta, which means for the for the first time Mrs Monty will have a pair of crystal goblets to take home to polish.

"I told my wife I was never going to get an eagle with the putter," Montgomerie said. "It was a fortunate shot." The Scot had a double bogey at the 11th when he found the water over the green but he was three under for the last seven for a 72.

He was joined on two under by Langer. The German benefited from an incorrect ruling from an official at the eighth. In a marshy area, denoted as a hazard, in the trees on the left, he was allowed to brush away a pine cone from behind his ball on his backswing as he hit a wedge to 20 feet and holed for birdie.

"We were wrong and it is our style to say when we are wrong," said Will Nicholson, chairman of the Masters committee. "But the rules of golf were upheld in that there was no breach by Bernhard because he acted as instructed."


US unless stated, par 72


J M Olazabal (Sp) 70 66.


S McCarron 69 68.


G Norman (Aus) 71 68, L Janzen 70 69.


N Price (Zim) 69 72, D Love 69 72.


B Langer (Ger) 76 66, C Montgomerie (GB) 70 72, B Glasson 72 70, B Chamblee 69 73, J Leonard 70 72, S Elkington (Aus) 72 70.


P Mickelson 74 69, J Haas 74 69, B Jobe 72 71, B Estes 71 72, E Els (SA) 71 72.


S Cink 74 70, T Woods 72 72.


D Duval 71 74, J Furyk 72 73, T Lehman 73 72, F Couples 74 71, I Woosnam (GB) 71 74.


B Watts 73 73, M O'Meara 70 76, L Westwood (GB) 75 71, S Pate 71 75, J Huston 74 72.


S Stricker 75 72, *T McKnight 73 74, P-U Johansson (Swe) 75 72, R Mediate 73 74, R Floyd 74 73, B Faxon 74 73, A Magee 70 77, *S Garcia (Sp) 72 75.


*T Immelman (SA) 72 76, V Singh (Fij) 72 76, P Stewart 73 75, B Andrade 76 72, B Tway 75 73, M Brooks 76 72, J Daly 72 76, S Hoch 75 73, O Browne 74 74, S Lyle (GB) 71 77, C Stadler 72 76, C Parry (Aus) 75 73, S Maruyama (Jap) 78 70, *M Kuchar 77 71.


F Zoeller 72 77, F Funk 76 73, T Bjorn (Den) 76 73, F Lickliter 72 77.


M Ozaki (Japan) 71 79, J Cook 76 74, S Appleby (Aus) 73 77, J P Hayes 76 74.


W Wood 79 72, J Parnevik (Swe) 74 77, C Coody 77 74, T Watson 74 77, P Sjoland (Swe) 76 75.


L Roberts 76 76, M Calcavecchia 75 77, *H Kuehne 74 78, P Azinger 74 78, G Hjertstedt (Swe) 74 78.


N Faldo (GB) 80 73, B Crenshaw 74 79, B Mayfair 78 75, D Clarke (GB) 75 78, C Pavin 75 78.


J Maggert 78 76, D Toms 78 76, S Verplank 78 76.


H Sutton 79 76, G Day 78 77, T Dodds (Nam) 78 77.


S Ballesteros (Sp) 78 78, S Jones 77 79.


G Player (SA) 79 79.


A Palmer 83 78.


*J Miller 81 81.


J Durant 87 79.

Withdrew: D Ford.

Retired: B Casper, G Brewer.

*denotes amateur

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