Bjorn keeps lead but loses cool with Monty

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Traffic in Taiwan was stopped when a 17-metre long whale, which was being driven on the back of a lorry, exploded leaving entrails all over the road. As curious incidents go, it just edged out the conclusion to Thomas Bjorn's second round at the Johnnie Walker Classic although the latter had more in common with the curious incident of the dog in the night, in so much as, officially, there was not one.

It might have been asking a lot for cool to be maintained on a morning of severe humidity - everyone was finishing red-faced and with saturated shirt - but the manner in which Bjorn reached the clubhouse gave no clue to the fact that he was the tournament leader.

Over the last two holes Bjorn rushed both between and over shots, including a duffed wedge at the last, and on exiting the re-corder's hut immediately called for the tournament director.

This is hardly routine behaviour and appeared to have been provoked by an incident at the seventh, his 16th hole, which, it may or may not be a surprise to learn, involved Bjorn's playing partner, Colin Montgomerie.

Bjorn was standing over a chip from beside the green when he was disturbed by Montgomerie, who had been forced to play from the drop zone after his second to the par-five had found the pond in front of the green. The Scot was still crossing the bridge to get to the green when Bjorn backed off his shot as if the movement had caught his eye.

He turned to look at Monty, who in turn himself turned as if there was some other miscreant. Both ended with bogeys and as he left the green Bjorn appeared to point his putter at the Scot.

After both men had signed their cards, Montgomerie asked to speak to Bjorn but the Dane insisted on waiting until Miguel Vidaor had arrived. After a 10-minute private discussion Vidaor said: "They had their differences, they have been resolved and they have shaken on it."

Both Bjorn and Montgomerie, who are genuinely friendly and seemed to be enjoying amicable banter only two holes previously, might be described as fierce competitors and might also possess temperaments more combustible than an exploding whale.

While this was the silliest of spats by Ryder Cup colleagues who should know better, Monty's petulance is legendary and he appears exasperated when, as currently, he is not at the top of his game. Bjorn, having been paired with the Scot on many occasions, knows this all too well but also accepts he is not exactly whiter than white.

Once he arrived for his official press conference, Bjorn, rather nobly, refused to criticise Montgomerie or confirm that any particular incident had sparked him off. "I know you really want to hear what that was all about," he said. "But this is staying between me and Monty and the European Tour. I have the utmost respect for Monty as a player and things happen once in a while on the course where there are players as competitive as we are. It wasn't just one thing, there were other things, small things, nothing too serious.

"I did some things wrong and Colin did some things wrong and with my temper and with Colin's temper, it just comes out. Fortunately, we have enough respect for each other, and consider each other friends, and have dealt with it in private and have shaken hands on it. We are as good friends as we were before we went out."

Only when pressed for further details on the incident did Bjorn became visibly angry. "There's no story here," he said. "You write whatever you want to write and you make up your own story if you need to because there is no story here. It's between me and Colin. You want me to say something happened out there? Things happen on a golf course all the time."

The outburst over, the 32-year-old was able to reflect pleasingly on a 68, which added to an opening 64, left him at 12 under par and with a two-stroke lead over England's David Lynn, who did not drop a shot in a 66.

Nick Faldo, despite four weeks of acclimatisation in the country, admitted to flagging on the back nine in the afternoon but eight pars to finish left the former world No 1 at nine under in third place. "I was huffing and puffing but there was a lot of good stuff and it's a nice position," Faldo said.

Ernie Els was at seven under after a 67, the same score as Montgomerie at four under. Ben Curtis, despite finishing with a triple bogey and a bogey, was at three under but Lee Westwood only made the cut on the qualifying mark of two under.

Johnnie Walker classic (Alpine Club, Bangkok, Thai) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 132 T Bjorn (Den) 64 68. 134 D Lynn 68 66. 135 N Faldo 65 70. 136 D Smail (NZ) 67 69; M A Jimenez (Sp) 70 66; S Yates 68 68. 137 S Gardiner (Aus) 66 71; J Moseley (Aus) 66 71; A Hansen (Den) 67 70; R Green (Aus) 73 64; S Dyson 71 66; C Cevaer (Fr) 70 67; E Els (SA) 70 67; N O'Hern (Aus) 69 68; S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 69. 138 G Rusnak (US) 71 67; S Laycock (Aus) 70 68; M Long (NZ) 70 68; I Poulter 66 72; M Cunning (US) 68 70; T Immelman (SA) 69 69; Peter Lawrie 73 65. 139 J-F Remesy (Fr) 70 69; A Scott (Aus) 70 69; T Jaidee (Thai) 67 72; Zhang Lian-wei (Ch) 68 71; B Ruangkit (Thai) 71 68; A Pitts (US) 72 67; F Andersson (Swe) 69 70; G McDowell 71 68; S Dodd 69 70; J Randhawa (Ind) 69 70; R Jacquelin (Fr) 71 68; M Tunnicliff 69 70. 140 Yang Yong-eun (S Kor) 70 70; J Bickerton 70 70; D Bransdon (Aus) 69 71; C Montgomerie 73 67; S Micheel (US) 70 70; J Rose 72 68; H Stenson (Swe) 70 70; E Walters (Aus) 72 68; Ted Oh (S Kor) 70 70; P Golding 71 69; J Kingston (SA) 71 69; M Mamat (Sing) 70 70; P Meesawat (Thai) 68 72; B Kennedy (Aus) 70 70; G Murphy 73 67; M Fraser (Aus) 67 73; U Park (Aus) 69 71; C Carmichael (Aus) 76 64; B Lane 70 70; Olin Wen-tang (Taiw) 70 70; A Kang (US) 71 69.

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