Golf: Park sets hot pace as Rose beats cut

DAVID PARK, after first forgetting it was his birthday, made his celebrations unforgettable by climbing to the top of the leaderboard on the second day of the European Grand Prix here yesterday.

The Welsh rookie, who astonished the golfing world when on his European Tour debut last weekend he finished second after a play-off with Spain's Miguel Angel Martin in the Moroccan Open, ended the day 12 under par and equalled the course record of 65.

Park woke up yesterday morning and immediately switched on the television in his room. "I was sitting on my bed eating my cornflakes watching the news and tennis when the announcer said, `It's 7.26am on such-and-such a date'. I thought, `That sounds familiar', and remembering why, immediately wished myself a happy birthday."

Apart from a bogey at the deceptively tricky 13th, eight birdies brought him home with an aggregate score of 132. He finished with a glorious 25- foot putt with a three-iron which curved into the hole.

"I'm just trying to play my own game," Park said. "I went to Morocco with little expectation and to try to enjoy myself."

The Hereford-based player, who finished 29th in last year's European Challenge Order of Merit, admitted his performance was not expected.

"I had a month in Florida before the season started, and that's been very useful," he said. "I went to Augusta and met up with an old college team-mate. To be honest, I am a little surprised with the way I've played recently although I've been happy with my form on the Challenge Tour."

Probably the happiest man in the clubhouse after the cut was set at level par was Justin Rose. He fired 69 yesterday and it meant that he will play his first third round on the European Tour after making his debut in the Dutch Open a week after his fourth place in last year's Open.

The first-day leader, David Carter, finished two strokes down on Park after a second-round 69. Last year's European Masters champion, Sven Struver, was on eight under, while Peter Mitchell, who along with David Gilford also equalled the course record of 65, was on seven under.

Darren Clarke, Seve Ballesteros and Lee Westwood just made the cut; Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle did not.

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX (Slaley Hall) Leading second-round scores (GB & Irl unless stated): 132 D Park 67 65. 134 D Carter 65 69. 136 S Struver (Ger) 69 67; 137 J Coceres (Arg) 69 68; P Mitchell 72 65; J M Singh (Ind) 68 69; M Tunnicliff 69 68; P O'Malley (Aus) 66 71.138 R Goosen (SA) 76 68; I Garbutt 70 68; D Lee 68 70, S Bennett 68 70. 139 M Campbell (NZ) 69 70; J Senden (Aus) 70 69; J Spence 68 71, D Gilford 74 65; M Scarpa (It) 72 67; D Lynn 67 72; C Rodiles (Sp) 73 66. 140 D Borrego (Sp) 70 70; R Lee 70 70; D Howell 71 69; D Clarke 71 69; P McGinley 67 73; R Claydon 71 69; R Gonzalez (Arg) 70 70. 141 A Beal 73 68; E Canonica (It) 72 69; I Garrido (Sp;) 68 73; M Florioli (It) 74 67; G Orr 71 70; R McFarlane 70 71; J Rystrom (Swe) 69 72; P Affleck 72 69. 142 R Derksen (Neth) 69 73; A Hansen (Den) 69 73; A Cejka (Ger) 71 71; S Ballesteros 73 69; D Robertson 72 70; F Tarnaud (Fr) 71 71; P Baker 72 70; A Coltart 73 69; F Tarnaud (Fr) 71 71; G Turner (NZ) 72 70; L Westwood 72 70; P Harrington 71 71; J Lomas 69 73; S Scahill (NZ) 73 69.