Golf: The clock turns back for Garrido

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The Independent Online
ANTONIO GARRIDO, of Spain, who, with Seve Ballesteros, was the first player from outside Britain and Ireland to play in the Ryder Cup, in 1979, was the surprise first-round leader of the Mediterrania Open, in Torrevieja, Spain, yesterday.

Garrido, 50 last month, shot a six-under-par 66, six strokes better than Ballesteros and four ahead of Spain's other leading talent, Jose- Maria Olazabal.

The prominence of Garrido's name on the leaderboard surprised Ballesteros, who said: 'When I saw it I thought it was his son, Ignacio. But Antonio is a good golfer.' Garrido, who had seven birdies on his card, says his short game is beginning to fade with advancing years, but yesterday he putted as well as in his heyday.

He leads his fellow Spaniard, Juan Quiros, Sweden's Klas Eriksson and Eduardo Romero, of Argentina, by one shot, and a group of eight golfers, including England's Gordon J Brand, Lee Westwood and Phil Golding, by two. Garrido's son had to be content with a level-par 72.

The well-known names were down the field: Barry Lane and Howard Clark on 72, Peter Baker and David Gilford on 73 and Gordon Brand Jnr on 74. David A Russell, who recently won his US Tour card, shot a three-under-par 69.

Ballesteros was disappointed with his round of 72, but said it was difficult to keep his concentration with so many spectators flocking inside the ropes.