Golf: Van de Velde slowly but surely takes command

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JEAN VAN DE VELDE shot a course-record 64 to take the halfway lead in the Peugeot French Open at Le Golf National in Paris yesterday. But having played the local hero, Van de Velde will be hoping that history does not repeat itself.

The Frenchman, whose victory in the Rome Masters in April was the first by a Frenchman on the European tour since 1970, shrugged off a slow-play warning to move on to 131, 11 under par and one ahead of Scotland's Gary Orr and the Italian, Costantino Rocca.

Van de Velde admitted: 'My first wish is to win in France and the pressure is bigger.' But not even a warning to hurry up from the tournament director, David Garland, unnerved the 27-year-old during his brilliant second round, which featured eight birdies.

Garland started watching Van de Velde as he went to the turn in just 30 strokes and then spoke to him. Van de Velde replied: 'I can afford to pay pounds 250. I have some problems other than this and I don't want to know on the course - tell me at the end.'

He was, in fact, one second away from being fined, twice exceeding the limit and once being right on it in spending 40 seconds over a four-foot putt.

Orr, a 26-year-old from Helensburgh now based in Surrey, added a 67 to his opening 65. Rocca, like Van de Velde, has had his first tour victory this season - it came in the Lyon Open in April - and could leap from 16th to seventh in the Ryder Cup points table by winning again. He had his second successive 66 yesterday.

PEUGEOT FRENCH OPEN (Paris) Leading second-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 131 J Van de Velde (Fr) 67 64. 132 C Rocca (It) 66 66; G Orr 65 67. 133 P Way 66 67. 135 P O'Malley (Aus) 66 69; H Clark 68 67. 136 P McGinley 69 67; P Affleck 66 70; S Torrance 68 68; J Rystrom (Swe) 66 70. 137 R Drummond 71 66; D Feherty 67 70; J-M Olazabal (Sp) 71 66; B Lane 70 67; P Mitchell 66 71; D Williams 64 73; J Hawkes (SA) 70 67; T Levet (Fr) 71 66; E Els (SA) 69 68. 138 R Rafferty 69 69; M Roe 67 71; M Harwood (Aus) 67 71; S McAllister 68 70; M James 69 69; S Luna (Sp) 70 68; F Nobilo (NZ) 69 69; G Brand Jnr 66 72; M Pinero (Sp) 71 67; T Johnstone (Zim) 67 71. 139 M Mouland 66 73; R Lee 69 70; A Forsbrand (Swe) 68 71; R Goosen (SA) 68 71. 140 P Mayo 69 71; J McHenry 70 70; D Nouailhac (Fr) 70 70; M Besanceney (Fr) 68 72; M Mackenzie 70 70; S Richardson 72 68; A Murray 68 72; G Evans 70 70; M McLean 70 70; M Pendaries (Fr) 69 71; T Pernice (US) 68 72; A Hare 68 72; E Romero (Arg) 72 68; P Walton 73 67; E Dussart (Fr) 71 69; E O'Connell 70 70; P Price 70 70; G Cali (It) 71 69; H Selby-Green 69 71.

Comments