Golf: Smyth loses ground

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The Independent Online
DES SMYTH, who had equalled the course record with a 64 in the first round and was joint overnight leader at the end of the second day, was struggling to stay in contention in the Moroccan Open here yesterday.

The 45-year-old Irishman had fallen back to five under par after six holes of his third round after starting the day at nine under and was four shots behind Australia's Stephen Leaney, who was playing alongside him. Robert Karlsson, of Sweden, had moved into second place on seven under after seven holes.

Smyth's bad spell began when he had to play the 18th hole early yesterday morning to complete his second round. He went into two bunkers, dropped a shot, and from sharing the joint lead with Leaney, slipped back into second place. That was bad enough but Smyth had four more bogeys and only one birdie in his first six holes of his third round. Leaney, in contrast, was level par for the same six holes and playing with far more confidence than the Irishman.

Smyth, who finished his second round with 72 yesterday following his first-round 64, was disappointed with his round. "It was a very scrappy with five birdies but five bogeys," he said. "I had the best of the conditions in both my rounds and I should have done better."

Forty-nine players had to complete their second rounds yesterday, and with all of them in the clubhouse 68 players on 150 or better made the cut for the third round. To try and make up for the time lost on the opening day when a gale forced play to finish early, the players were going off from both the first and 10th tees in the third round.

One player no longer involved in the tournament was Italy's Roberto Zappa, who put up one of the more unusual finishes to a European PGA Tour round. Because he had only one hole to play and had no chance of making the halfway cut, Zappa went out without a caddie and only four clubs, a driver, a five iron, a wedge and a putter.