Golf: Price pushes ahead as Faldo falters: The best of the world's players cannot keep pace as Zimbabwean's hot streak continues

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NICK FALDO'S hopes of picking up a bumper prize to round off the season suffered a serious blow when he returned a one-over-par 73 in the second round of the Million Dollar Challenge in Sun City, Bophuthatswana, yesterday, leaving him seven strokes adrift of the leader, Nick Price.

The Zimbabwean added a 66 to his opening 67 for an 11-under-par aggregate of 133 and dented Faldo's morale. 'He's playing well, putting well and has luck on his side. Makes you sick, eh?' said Britain's world No 1, who matched his playing partner shot for shot on the first day.

The luck referred to two of Price's six birdies. First, he sank a 60-foot putt at the 11th, then his drive down the 15th skipped out of a bunker and enabled him to float an eight-iron on to the green, he then made a 25-footer. Faldo took three putts from half the distance.

'I let it slip during the middle of the round,' Faldo said. 'I didn't hit it that badly, but I kept finding some bad spots and couldn't get a thing in the hole. I went backwards, he went forwards. It's as simple as that, but at least I'm playing with him again tomorrow and I'll just keep chipping away.

'The 11th was where he must have felt it was his day. He would have been delighted with a par because he hit the putt much too hard, might have bogeyed and ended up with a birdie.'

Faldo started his round with a 30- foot putt and led at that point, but it was his only birdie of the day. Apart from the 15th he dropped a stroke on the short 12th, fluffing a chip.

There was no fortune in Price's other four birdies. He pitched close on the long second and 10th and fired in lovely irons to the eighth and 13th. He has yet to record a bogey and at the last splashed out of sand to five feet to preserve his seven-stroke lead.

Asked if he could remember when he last played as well Price said: 'May, June, July and August.' He has just finished top of America's money list with dollars 1.4m ( pounds 975,000) and a sixth victory of the year on Sunday will take his worldwide earnings for 1993 to a record dollars 2.8m.

Joint third on three under, eight shots adrift, are three former winners - David Frost, Bernhard Langer, Mark McNulty - and the American Corey Pavin.

Frost, the defending champion who was penalised two strokes on the opening day for failing to replace his ball after it moved as he prepared to putt, took only two holes to recover those strokes, but could he could make no further progress.

Pavin and McNulty also had 70s, while Langer came home in 33 to return a 69. 'I'm playing quite well, but Nick (Price) is playing exceptional golf,' the Masters champion said.

Ian Woosnam, hoping to improve on his first day 75, slumped to a 78 and on the 10-over-par aggregate 154 he stands 21 strokes behind Price.

MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE (Sun City, Bophuthatswana) Leading second-round scores: 133 N Price (Zim) 67 66. 140 N Faldo (GB) 67 73. 141 B Langer (Ger) 72 69; D Frost (SA) 71 70. 142 F Allem (SA) 72 70. 145 E Els (SA) 76 69; M O'Meara (US) 74 71. 149 L Janzen (US) 76 73. 150 P Stewart (US) 75 75. 154 I Woosnam (GB) 76 78.

(Photograph omitted)