Golf: Seve to seek a winning formula

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

SEVE BALLESTEROS believes he can turn the form book upside down with victory this week at the Mediterrania Open in Torrevieja, near Alicante. Ballesteros, who finished joint 18th in his first event of the year at the Andalucia Masters last week, has won 51 events on the PGA European Tour since 1976 but his last success was in Majorca two years ago and he is anxious to get back on the winning trail.

'Yes, I believe I could win this week,' he said. 'When I played last week I had not played a competitive round since I was in Japan in November and I was not as sharp as I would have liked.

'But the course here is very nice, it's not very long, the greens are in good condition and if the wind does not blow, the scores will be very low.'

Ballesteros said that he would have finished much higher last week without three bad tee shots in his final round. 'I was in a good position and then I made these mistakes. I made them, perhaps, because of my lack of competition but I am sure I will do much better this week.'

Several players were not so keen on the course though and Mark Roe believes it is easy for someone in top form to shoot a 59. 'Anyone who knocks in a lot of putts will have a very low score, possibly below 60 - a 59 is definitely on,' he said.

This week's field is one of the strongest of the year with four current European Ryder Cup players, Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Peter Baker and Barry Lane, together with nine former cup players.

Nick Faldo has spent the winter in the gym and believes he is fitter than ever going into tomorrow's Doral Open in Miami, the first of four tournaments he will play in America as preparation for the Masters.

Faldo, 10lb lighter than a year ago following daily work-outs, has been practising with his coach David Leadbetter to bring his swing and putting stroke back to the levels of 1992 when he won six tournaments. He said: 'I was disappointed last year. My swing wasn't as good as the year before when I went into every week looking to play well and win.