Archer fires back with dazzling 63 while Rose blossoms again

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The Independent Online

Phillip Archer fears he will forever be remembered as the man who blew the chance of recording the European Tour's first 59, but a few more rounds like the one which sent him three clear in the Abu Dhabi Championship yesterday and the Lancastrian might yet have a more positive epitaph.

Ten birdies and a solitary bogey were the vital figures in the 34-year-old's 63, although he more than anyone appreciates that in golf it is all too often possible to be a victim of your own success. It was last June at the Wales Open where Archer missed a six-footer for immortality and since then he has not been allowed to forget it.

"A number in the crowd call me 'Mr 60' and others who hear my name say, 'ouch ­ 60, I watched that'," revealed Archer. "Listen, I broke the course record there by two shots, came really close to the magical score, yet it's as if I did something wrong. I've just tried to take the positives from it."

Archer has succeeded, too, grasping enough inspiration from his brush with history to finish 41st on the Order of Merit, tripling his earnings on Tour in the process. He credits Dr Paul Hurrion, the putting guru who also boasts Padraig Harrington and David Howell in his patients' book, with resurrecting a career which seemed doomed at the end of 2005 when he only kept his card by a matter of euros.

"The big thing he changed was my grip," explained Archer. " Both palms now face each other, so my thumbs are basically the same height and it levels up my shoulders."

Newly-married Justin Rose was in fine form again yesterday on the second day of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in California.

Switching from Bermuda Dunes to the La Quinta course, the 26-year-old, who was married on 15 December, followed up his opening 67 with a seven-under par 65 and, on 12-under, was just a single stroke behind new leader Scott Verplank.

Rose had an early bogey, but sparked into life with an eagle on the long fifth and then birdied five of the next seven holes before finishing with another.

Londoner Brian Davis leapt into the top 20 with a closing 12-foot eagle putt for a 68 and seven-under aggregate.

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