Golf: Olazabal back to earth: Crenshaw moves into contention while a Welshman continues his pace-setting ways in Lyon

Click to follow
The Independent Online
WHEN asked for an explanation of his record-breaking scoring in the opening round of the New Orleans Classic after not being able to break 70 in his eight previous rounds here at English Turn, Jose-

Maria Olazabal said with a smile, 'Maybe I saved all my shots for today.'

Yesterday it looked as though Olazabal had spent all of those savings on Thursday, as he gave back three of the nine strokes under par he began the day with. He joined Ben Crenshaw at the top of the leaderboard when he birdied the last to end with a 74. Crenshaw had finished earlier with a 68 to go to seven under par.

Sam Torrance was tied with Olazabal and the Americans Bobby Clampett and Steve Brodie in second place at six under par, following up his opening round of 67 with a 71. Scoring conditions could not have been better yesterday, a fact that the morning scores reflected, but few low rounds were shot in the afternoon.

The tournament started out with eight European entries, and it looked as though only three of them would survive to the weekend. Aside from Olazabal and Torrance, Nick Faldo was safely made the cut after rounds of 72 and 71.

Faldo's round seemed like one of the least interesting ever shot in comparison with the 84 turned in by his playing partner John Daly. The lowlight of Daly's round was at the par-five 15th, the 542-yard signature hole at English Turn with its small island green. Daly took a 12 there, hitting his tee shot in the water, hitting his third from the same tee into the fairway, then dropping a succession of three two-iron shots into the water in front of the green. With just two balls left in his bag, Daly tried one more two- iron shot and got his 10th stroke into the left front bunker, before getting up and down.

Fred Couples's back problem has forced him to withdraw from the Masters. The 1992 Masters winner has a herniated disc.

NEW ORLEANS CLASSIC Leading second- round scores (US unless stated): 137 B Crenshaw 69 68; J-M Olazabal (Sp) 63 74. 138 B Clampett 70 68; S Brodie 71 67; S Torrance (Sco) 67 71. 139 N Ozaki (Japan) 71 68; M Standly 68 71; T Schulz 72 67; T Simpson 69 70. 140 L Clements 73 67; D Mast 71 69; G Hallberg 71 69. 141 I Baker- Finch (Aus); J Sindelar 72 69; L Wadkins 71 70, K Gibson 72 69. 142 B Lohr 70 72; M Springer 73 69; G Twiggs 76 66; J Parnevik (Swe) 73 69; J Furyk 70 72. 143 N Faldo (Eng) 72 71; D Waldorf 71 72; D Rummells 74 69; B Burns 71 72; C Dennis 73 70. Selected: 145 E Els (SA) 69 76. 147 S Lyle (Sco) 77 70. 152 B Lane (Eng) 78 74. 157 J Daly 73 84.