Golf: Torrance looks ahead with confidence

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The Independent Online
SAM TORRANCE yesterday moved on from Louisiana to Augusta reflecting not so much on the bogey/double-bogey finish which dropped him to third place in the New Orleans Classic, but on his play over the first 70 holes.

'It's as good as I have played - ever,' the Ryder Cup player said. 'To hit the ball as good as that coming into this week makes me really excited. Ben Crenshaw hammered me to death with his putter over the final few holes, but he was a gentleman at the end and told me I was playing great and that if I play as well this week, I could win.'

Three times a winner in Europe last season, Torrance was in with a chance of his first success in the United States when he shared the lead with six holes to play.

Crenshaw, however, sank putts of nine, 14, 25 and 10 feet in the closing stretch, and Torrance lost second spot by making a mess of the 17th and 18th while Jose-Maria Olazabal hit birdies at both.

The late five-stroke swing between the two Europeans cost Torrance pounds 32,000, but he left New Orleans richer by pounds 55,000 and with his confidence unaffected.

This will be only his second appearance in the Masters - his only other invitation came in 1985 - and when asked if he had anything to say about being overlooked so often, he smiled and replied: 'I ain't going to complain now I'm here.'

Nick Faldo, twice Masters champion, suffered a final- round 74 but said he was pleased with his preparation: 'I played better than I scored. I'm working on better putting. Overall I'm happy, and feeling good about my chances next week.'

Stephen Ames made history when he became the first player from Trinidad and Tobago to win a European Tour event, with victory at the Lyon Open yesterday. The 29-year-old, who started the final day two shots behind the overnight leader, Wayne Riley, ignored the gathering puddles to shoot 74 for an aggregate of 282, six under par, beating the Swede, Gabriel Hjertstedt, and the Spaniard, Pedro Linhart, by two shots.