Golf: Woosnam recovers his form

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IAN WOOSNAM and Sandy Lyle, both struggling to hit top form this season, came good in the first round of the Honda Open in Hamburg yesterday. Woosnam, using a new, deep- faced putter for the first time and staying with an orthodox grip after experimenting with a 'cack-handed' grip, left hand below right, regained his confidence on the greens to shoot a five-under-par 67 - one shot behind the leader, Ernie Els.

Lyle, who has missed the cut twice in his four European Tour appearances this year, came in with a 68 and declared himself well satisfied.

The South African Ian Palmer and the Welshman Paul Affleck joined Woosnam on 67 while Lyle shared joint fifth place with seven others.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher will be happy if Woosnam and Lyle can maintain this form as both will be needed for the match with the United States at the Belfry in September.

'I only holed one really long putt, a 40-footer at the short 14th when I was only trying to get the ball close,' Woosnam said, 'but I knocked in several others and even the ones I missed were generally on line.'

Lyle, starting at the 10th, began badly with a five but he birdied the 15th, 16th, first, sixth and seventh holes and came off saying: 'That's my best start this year.'

Affleck, who hopes to play for Wales in the World Cup this year, had a steady 67, five birdies and 13 pars, while Sam Torrance, beginning at the 10th, did well to come in with a 68 for he is suffering from a very heavy cold. Bernhard Langer, the holder, is on 69, three shots behind the leader, but Barry Lane, the Ryder Cup points leader, shot a four-over-par 76.

Scores, Sporting Digest, page 39

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