Michael Jonzon, twice a winner on the European Tour, suffered the stuff of nightmares at the start of the tour qualifying school here yesterday. Yet somehow, despite the massive importance of the week, he was still smiling afterwards and prepared to relive it, shot by ghastly shot.
The school is a 108-hole marathon, but after just two of them the 29-year-old Swede was eight over par, a double bogey-six being followed by a sextuple-bogey 10. Jonzon, who looked such a brilliant prospect when he won the 1997 Portuguese Open, also bogeyed the short third and did well to battle back for an 80.
It leaves him with only two of the 168-strong field behind him in the chase for the 35 tour cards on offer, but he said: "At last I've given myself a chance the way I played the last 15.
"But I was in shock on the third tee. At the first I missed the green and duffed a pitch, but the second was terrible. My first drive went out of bounds and my fourth shot hit a cart path and went downhill nearly 100 yards over the green into some bushes.
"I had to take a penalty drop, but still could not get a proper swing at the ball and it took me three more shots to get on the green. Then I missed the putt."
The day went far better for the 1991 Ryder Cup team-mates Paul Broadhurst and Steve Richardson on the same course, and for the Walker Cup teenager Nick Dougherty at Sotogrande. Broadhurst shot 69 and Richardson 70 to be three and four strokes respectively behind Sweden's pacesetter Magnus Persson, while Dougherty's 69 left him four behind Leicester's Matthew Cort, who sank four 25-foot putts in his round. Broadhurst said he had not been as nervous since the "War on the Shore" Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island a decade ago.
"I didn't have a lot of sleep," he said. "Every hour I was awake looking at the clock. I said I wanted to try to treat it like a normal tournament, but it's not. You don't know whether to go for your shots or play safe. You don't feel you can have a disaster and every shot you play a bit too negative."
The 19-year-old Dougherty hit trouble with a double-bogey six at the seventh and a triple-bogey six on the next, but came home in 31 and with eight birdies in all. However, Ireland's Philip Walton, a hero of the 1995 Ryder Cup victory, managed only a two-over 74 as he began his quest to regain his card at the third attempt.Reuse content