Golf: Torrance heading in Ryder Cup direction

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The Independent Online
Sam Torrance, always at his best when Ryder Cup points are at stake, was true to form in the second round of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, yesterday.

On this mountain course, 5,000ft up in the Swiss Alps, Torrance shot an eight-under-par 63 for a two-round aggregate of 128 to lead the field by six shots. There are still two rounds to go but Torrance looks certain to collect a big cheque which would ease an immediate worry and give himself a lift towards a ninth-successive Ryder Cup appearance.

Torrance, who leads the Midlander Paul Broadhurst by six shots and Lee Westwood and Sweden's Olle Nordberg by seven, is 66th in the Order of Merit. He needs at least another pounds 25,000 to move up into the top 50 who qualify for the Volvo Masters, the last European Tour event, in Valderrama next month.

The first prize here is pounds 127,950 and with one Ryder Cup point given for each pound won, it would enable the 43-year-old Scot to go top of the points table if he were to win.

He returned home from a Caribbean holiday two weeks ago sporting a crew- cut and beard, and failed to make the cut at the British Masters, the first Ryder Cup points tournament at Collingtree Park, last week.

"I just didn't hit the ball well and my dad [Bob Torrance] gave me a five-hour workout at Wentworth on Monday. He made me move my legs and body together more, and it worked," Torrance said. "I shot 65 yesterday and 63 today and I can honestly say that these two rounds were better than any I played last year when I finished second to Monty [Colin Montgomerie] in the Order of Merit.

"Today I also went back to my normal putter. I used a heavier one yesterday and didn't feel really comfortable. So I went back to my old faithful and I had only 27 putts today."

His fellow Scot Montgomerie is eight shots behind Torrance after shooting a level-par round of 71. Montgomerie had seven birdies, two double bogeys and three bogeys. "It was ridiculous. I had eight birdies in my first round and seven today and I'm only six under par," he said.