Fired-up Els keeps Woods in shade

South Africa's Ernie Els, beaten by Tiger Woods in a sudden-death play-off in the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic, took a share of the half-way lead in the second round of this year's event here yesterday.

South Africa's Ernie Els, beaten by Tiger Woods in a sudden-death play-off in the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic, took a share of the half-way lead in the second round of this year's event here yesterday.

Els, the winner of the 1997 event in Australia, carded a five-under-par 67, to lead on a seven-under-par total of 137 along with Michael Campbell of New Zealand. Campbell, the joint first-round leader, fired a round of 71. Australia's Nick O'Hern and Marten Olander, of Sweden, were a stroke further back after rounds of 71 and 70 respectively.

Meanwhile, Woods, the world No 1, struggled with his short game, with bogeys at three holes. He finished with a four-under-par 72 - three strokes behind the leaders.

"I held it together but was struggling with the putter and did well to fight back to even for the day," said Woods, who is coming off a record-equalling four consecutive tournament wins and eight victories in his last 11 appearances. "It was a difficult day," he added, saying that he felt tired and had been thrown off by the varying weather conditions, which included light rain and sunshine.

The tournament seemed to be shaping up like a replay of the start of last year's Classic in Thailand, where Woods fell eight strokes behind Els. On that occasion the 23-year-old American surged back to win the play-off.

"Tiger is the best golfer in the world by far. He had a pretty mediocre day," Els said. "If I can score under 70 for the next couple of days, then they'll have to come out and catch me."

Other big names were also struggling, including Fiji's Vijay Singh, England's Nick Faldo and the American Jim Furyk, who were all a long way down the field of 132.

O'Hern, however, said he expected the big guns would begin to dominate after the cut. "After a couple of days, they're still adjusting to the conditions of the course," the 28-year-old said.

In Japan, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke are two shots off the lead at the Taiheiyo Masters in Gotemba. Westwood completed a second-round 70 while the Ulsterman recorded a 71 to add to his opening 66.

Katsuyoshi Tomori holds the lead after a round of 66, lying one shot clear of his compatriots Naomichi Ozaki and Hirofumi Miyase. Scotland's Andrew Coltart and England's David Howell made the cut after second successive rounds of 72.

They have joined the young Spaniard Sergio Garcia on 144 after the 19-year-old's second-round 73. But his fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal could only manage a second-round 77 and misses the cut.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital