Golf: Russell takes up the pace

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The Independent Online
DAVID A RUSSELL, of Kent, led the Heineken Dutch Open at Noordwijk yesterday after a first round of 65 that left him two strokes in front of the field. In contrast, the American John Daly stormed off the course after shooting a five-over-par 77.

Daly, the former US PGA champion who stopped drinking after being treated for alcoholism earlier this year, took a two-over-par six at the fourth after waiting 15 minutes for a ruling, then carved his drive at the seventh deep into the undergrowth, finally making a seven, three over par.

Daly scurried past the media and public alike afterwards and drove off to contemplate the near-impossible task of surviving the halfway cut.

By contrast, Russell confirmed his well-being after hand surgery which forced him out of golf for eight months last year. He would have lost his card, but the Tour dealt sympathetically with his plight and offered a medical exemption. Proof of a full recovery came yesterday in the form of six birdies and an eagle in halves of 35 and 30.

Most of the low scoring came in the calmer morning conditions. The South African De Wet Basson and the Irishman Ronan Rafferty got closest to Russell with rounds of 67 - one ahead of a group containing the defending champion Bernhard Langer and the US Open winner Lee Janzen.

DUTCH OPEN (Noordwijk) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 65 D A Russell; 67 D Basson (SA), R Rafferty; 68 C Montgomerie, G Turner (NZ), T Levet (Fr), B Langer (Ger), L Janzen (US), P Baker, P Eales, P Fowler (Aus), M Jiminez (Sp), J Berendt (Arg); 69 J Coceres (Arg), R Mackenzie, G Evans, M Pinero (Sp), R Goosen (SA), R Drummond; 70 P-U Johansson (Swe), J Woof, M Roe, G Brand Jnr, E Romero (Arg), E Darcy, J Quiros (Sp), R Winchester, D Cooper, S Grappasonni (It), A Sorensen (Den), M James, J McHenry. Selected: 71 J Parnevik (Swe), J M Olazabal (Sp), B Lane, I Woosnam, R Davis (Aus), S Tinning (Den), W Riley (Aus); 72 G J Brand, S Torrance; 73 C O'Connor Jnr, H Clark J Spence, J Rivero (Sp); 75 M Davis; 77 D Frost (SA), J Daly (US).

British Seniors' Open, page 35