Golf: Richardson eyes Spanish prize

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The Independent Online
MARK JAMES looks for his third victory of the season, while Steve Richardson, the latest player to amass pounds 1m on the European Tour, is hoping for his first win for two years in the Mediterranean Open which starts today at El Saler, near Valencia.

Richardson, from Hampshire, went through the pounds 1m barrier by finishing third in the Turespana Masters last week. He has achieved the landmark in in under three and a half years - six months quicker than Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal.

Although Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam are not taking part, the field contains the other nine members of the last Ryder Cup team.

Yesterday 13 players were fined pounds 100 for slow play in their practice rounds. The guilty men were not named by the tournament director, John Paramor, but Germany's Bernhard Langer, who has a reputation of being one of the slowest players on the tour, confessed to being one and Olazabal, the defending champion, was believed to be another.

'I hit two shots in a bunker, which I am not allowed to,' Langer, twice winner of the Spanish Open at this course, said.

'Out of 144 players (the number taking part this week) I think 139 will break the rules in a practice round. It is not pleasing, but we made the rules so we go along with them.'

Olazabal, fined at the same event in 1991 for complaining to Paramor about the state of a bunker and again last year for failing to attend the pro-am prize-giving, only said: 'We have decided not to make anything public.'

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