STEVEN RICHARDSON, 11 under and two shots clear of the American Chip Beck after the second round of the German Open at Stuttgart yesterday, believes his big hitting has given him the chance to win for the first time for two years.
'There's a very long way to go in this tournament,' he said, after a six-under-par 66 had given him the lead with a two-round aggregate of 133.
'I think this course is one that suits me,' he said. 'It's not that long and it's not that tight off the tee. You can give it a good whack and you don't feel inhibited.'
Beck, one of the American Ryder Cup team at The Belfry last week, had a nine-under 63 which included nine birdies in 11 holes from the sixth. 'I kept hitting my putts and they kept going in,' he said. 'When that happens it's the greatest thing in life.'
Richardson, who missed out on the European Ryder Cup team this year after playing against the Americans at Kiawah Island in 1991, says he is the third-longest hitter on the European Tour.
'Sandy Lyle and Wayne Westner are the only ones who hit the ball further than me,' he said. 'Sandy is often 10 or 15 yards ahead when we drive and Wayne also hits it for miles. But I wouldn't say anyone else outhits me.'
Richardson last won in 1991 when he triumphed in the Girona and Portuguese Opens and his only regret is that he could not recapture that sort of form in time to be included in the Ryder Cup team last week.
Tomorrow he will play head-to- head with Beck, who won his two matches at The Belfry last week and says he is looking forward to the duel. 'I'm bound to be nervous but not too nervous,' he said.
David Frost, of South Africa, who had led after the first round, had a 70 yesterday for 136 to lie one behind Beck with Bernhard Langer and Sweden's Robert Karlsson on 137.
Langer, showing no signs of his recent neck trouble, had seven birdies in eight holes from the fifth and another at the 18th for a 64, his lowest round on this course.
The German had one stroke of luck, however, when at the sixth hole his second shot was missing the green, struck a spectator and bounced on to the green. He then holed a 20-foot putt for his second birdie of the day.
Langer was one of six members of the European Ryder Cup team in the field and five of them qualified for the last two rounds.
The exception was Colin Montgomerie, who had a 78, six over par, but Jose-Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros, Barry Lane and Costantino Rocca all survived with Langer.
Of those who failed to make the cut, the most notable, apart from Montgomerie, were Ronan Rafferty, Paul Broadhurst, David Gilford and Jose Maria Canizares, all former Ryder Cup players.
MERCEDES GERMAN OPEN (Stuttgart) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated: 133 S Richardson 67 66. 135 C Beck (US) 72 63. 136 D Frost (SA) 66 70. 137 R Karlsson (Swe) 68 69; B Langer (Ger) 73 64. 138 A Sherborne 70 68; O Karlsson (Swe) 71 67; A Murray 71 67; T Kite (US) 71 67; J-M Olazabal (Sp) 69 69. 139 J Spence 69 70; F Nobilo (NZ) 68 71. 140 M Davis 71 69; D Feherty 69 71; W Westner (SA) 68 72; S Struver (Ger) 70 70; E Els (SA) 67 73; R Claydon 68 72; G Day (US) 69 71. 141 J Rivero (Sp) 70 71; P-U Johansson (Swe) 70 71; P Walton 70 71; F Lindgren (Swe) 71 70; M McNulty (Zim) 71 70; J Townsend (US) 70 71; M-A Jimenez (Sp) 68 73; T Watson (US) 74 67. 142 G Evans 72 70; M Roe 68 74; J Van de Velde (Fr) 70 72; D Mijovic (Can) 72 70; M Mouland 71 71; J Parnevik (Swe) 70 72; V Singh (Fiji) 71 71. Selected: 143 S Ballesteros (Sp) 70 73. 144 B Lane 73 71. 145 C Rocca (It) 72 73.Reuse content