Golf: Smyth sweeps clear of field
THE FORMER Ryder Cup player, Des Smyth, struck a blow for the veterans yesterday when he fashioned a two-shot lead in the first round of the Algarve Open.
The 46-year-old Irishman, whose last European Tour success was the 1993 Madrid Open, had birdies at five of the first six holes, two of them with chip-ins, on the way to a six-under-par 66.
It was the lowest return on a course trimmed from par 73 to 72 but failed to count as a record because preferred lies were in operation on the sodden fairways.
Even though the wet weather has produced a long course, a trusty "broom- handle" putter left Smyth two better than a pack of six - the South African Retief Goosen, Japan's Katsuyoshi Tomori, Swede Fredrik Jacobson, Spaniards Santiago Luna and Miguel Jimenez and Frenchman Jean van de Velde.
The long-handled club paid handsome dividends for Smyth as he needed only 11 putts going out and 13 coming home - three from off the green.
After several ups and downs last year and a poor start this year, the genial Irishman now has his feet on the ground.
"Today was a real blast from the past for me," Smyth said. "But tournaments are over 72 holes. If I'm still up there with nine holes to go on Sunday I will not be afraid to win.
"But making the cut will be a relief after missing out both times this year so far. I only kept my card by two places and about pounds 1,500 last year and I don't want that kind of worry again this year. I think I've scared myself into this score. I feel like a hare being chased by a lot of greyhounds, knowing I can't get away from them still for another four years when I join the seniors. But I just love being competitive. It's where I get my buzz."
Scotland's Sam Torrance, 45, was another veteran on song, returning after a five-week injury lay-off to shoot a 69.
Goosen was playing only his second event this year after breaking his left arm in a skiing accident on 2 January.
European rankings leader David Howell had a disappointing 74, while the defending champion Peter Mitchell carded 71. Their English compatriot Justin Rose shot 71 to give himself a chance of making his first cut at the 15th attempt as a professional.
ALGARVE OPEN (Penina, Portugal) First-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 66 D Smyth. 68 R Goosen (SA), M A Jimenez (Sp), K Tomori (Jpn), S Luna (Sp), F Jacobson (Swe), J Van De Velde (Fr). 69 F Valera (Sp), S Torrance, D Gilford, M Scarpa (It), R Karlsson (Swe). 70 S Webster, J Rivero (Sp), I Garbutt, B May (US), R Winchester. 71 A Oldcorn, P Lawrie, A Coltart, A Cejka (Ger), P Fulke (Swe), A Wall, J Bickerton, R Boxall, P Mitchell, C Hainline (US), T Johnstone (Zim), M Jonzon (Swe), H Clark, J Rose, F Cea (Sp), R Wessels (SA), P Affleck, P Linhart (Swe). 72 S Henderson, M Florioli (It), V Phillips, F Lindgren (Swe), D Borrego (Sp), E Canonica (It), W Riley (Aus), R Jacquelin (Fr), J M Arruti (Sp), G Evans, R Gonzalez (Arg), M Tunnicliff, B Lane, I Pyman, P Hedblom (Swe), M Roe, A Sobrinho (Por), A Cabrera (Arg), J Mellor, JP Cixous (Fr), S Bennett. 73 G Orr, T Levet (Fr), J Berendt (Arg), A McLardy (SA), J Lara (Sp), S Gallacher, H Nystrom (Swe), D Hospital (Sp), A Hansen (Den), P Baker, T Munoz (Sp), R J Dersken (Ned), P Eales, J Quiros (Sp), *N Campino (Por), J Singh (Ind), J McHenry, T Gillis (US). 74 A Sherborne, S Hansen (Den), B Davis, A Beal, G Norquist (US), C Whitelaw (SA), R Claydon, P Harrington, D Chopra (Swe), F Tarnaud (Fr), D Howell, M Anglert (Swe), J Spence, T Gogele (Ger), R Drummond, J Coceres (Arg), D Robertson.
* denotes amateur.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal
LA Galaxy vs Manchester United: 'Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks' - Louis van Gaal revels in 'fantastic' 7-0 start
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...
£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...