Els in a different league as Price leads the chase

Like all good monsters who make them come flocking to Scottish lochs, Ernie Els was out of sight here yesterday. The South African giant certainly gave the rest of the field the hump as he slipped off the radar with a four-shot lead after the second round of the Scottish Open.

The reigning Open champion was at his indefatigable best as he put a 67 to go with his opening 64 for an 11-under total ahead of Phillip Price in second. As most of his rivals got weighed down in the bog caused by yet another day of rain at this wettest of tournaments, Els took it all in that loping stride of his. Birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh took him to the turn in 33 and although the world No 2 dropped his guard long enough to let an errant bogey slip through on the 12th, he soon shored up his defences again with birdies on the next two holes.

"I've been in this position quite a few times before, so I know what I have to do," Els said, rather ominously. "The trick is to stay within yourself and not to get ahead of yourself. That's what I have to do this weekend." Indeed, it is difficult to imagine anyone getting ahead of Els in the next two days apart from himself.

If not in touch with, then at least in the same county as Els was Price, who came here fearing a hangover after his victory at the K Club in last week's European Open. But heads rarely come as level as Price's, who capped off what he called "an average round" with three birdies on the last five holes for a 68. Are back-to-back victories a possibility for the Welshman? "That all depends on Ernie," he confessed. "If he starts playing fantastic then we're all in trouble."

Many thought they already were, although John Daly was extricating himself from the mucky stuff he had put himself in with an opening 74, with a 66 that contained five birdies, one eagle and that inevitable double-bogey to put him at two under.

It also put him within striking distance of the pack lining up behind Price. On six under are Australia's Terry Price and South Africa's Tim Clark, while lurking one behind that pair is another Welshman, Bradley Dredge, who had the worst of the course on Thursday night, when the greens cut up due to an early morning downpour that suspended play.

The 30-year-old was one of 45 players who had to complete their opening rounds in yesterday's morning drizzle and, with just one hole to play, finished in style with a birdie at the last for a 69. He maintained the form with a 68.

He should be in for a lucrative weekend, but one man just happy to be around for some competitive golf before Sandwich next week, was Phil Mickelson, the American left-hander who recovered after an opening 76 with a 68 yesterday to scrape in under the cut at two over.

It was not all smiles from Mickelson, however, as his response to a magazine article by Butch Harmon, imploring him to forsake distance for accuracy, is probably the nearest you will ever get to a spat in the polite circles of American golf.

The magazine reveals that Tiger Woods's coach had told Mickelson when he saw him that he should think about putting away his driver and find more fairways and more greens if he is ever to win a major. Mickelson replied to Harmon that he could not possibly do without that extra "10 yards". Harmon's comeback to that was for Mickelson to look at Woods's trophies and see what he could get without that "extra 10 yards".

Yesterday, when asked about Harmon's advice, Mickelson said: 'Yes, I've heard that theory. I think I have missed fairways with two irons and three woods as I have with driver. I don't think it's distance that's the problem."

Scottish Open: (Loch Lomond) Leading early second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 131 E Els (SA) 64 67. 135 P Price 67 68. 137 B Dredge 69 68. 138 P Lonard (Aus) 70 68. 139 B Rumford (Aus) 67 72, Garbutt 70 69. 140 I Pyman 69 71, P Hedblom (Swe) 68 72, M Roe 72 68. 141 C Pettersson (Swe) 69 72, C Montgomerie 71 70, A Forsyth 72 69, A Hansen (Den) 72 69. 142 E Canonica (It) 71 71, J-F Remesy (Fra) 71 71, G Evans 71 71, G McDowell 71 71, A Oldcorn 71 71, J Manuel Lara (Sp) 73 69, B Barham 72 70. 143 M Lafeber (Neth) 74 69, R Bland 72 71, P Casey 69 74, S Gallacher 73 70, C Schwartzel (SA) 75 68. 144 M A Jimeñez (Sp) 72 72, P McGinley 73 71, P Mickelson (US) 76 68, S Leaney (Aus) 74 70. 145 S Lyle 73 72, J M Olazabal (Sp) 73 72, S Dodd 72 73, J Rollins (US) 70 75, J Van Hauwe (Fr) 69 76

Suggested Topics
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape