Lehman rises and shines

TOM LEHMAN had more explaining to do yesterday and this time the American was genuinely embarrassed. Lehman, conspicuous by his antics during the Ryder Cup, was equally so by his absence from the opening ceremony for the Alfred Dunhill Cup. The simple flag-raising formality by the first tee of the Old Course was about to take place when the American captain, Mark O'Meara, phoned Lehman's hotel room to ask where he was.

TOM LEHMAN had more explaining to do yesterday and this time the American was genuinely embarrassed. Lehman, conspicuous by his antics during the Ryder Cup, was equally so by his absence from the opening ceremony for the Alfred Dunhill Cup. The simple flag-raising formality by the first tee of the Old Course was about to take place when the American captain, Mark O'Meara, phoned Lehman's hotel room to ask where he was.

"I'm sleeping, where are you?" Lehman replied. He explained: "I had no idea there was an opening ceremony which was ignorance on my part. I should have read the information pack. I still felt a bit jet-lagged so I set my alarm for nine o'clock for a 10.50 match."

Lehman thoroughly enjoyed his first experience of the unique and revered course and showed no reaction when his tee shots on the opening few holes were greeted with silence, compared to the ripple of applause afforded to the drives of his opponent, Michael Campbell. His 71 gave him a three- stroke win over Campbell as the United States defeated New Zealand 2-1. "The crowd were very appreciative of good golf," Lehman said. "There was not one negative thing."

The opening day of round-robin matches saw a few potential upsets before the more favoured teams sneaked home. Scotland were indebted to Sam Torrance for defeating Raul Fretes, the man who beat Colin Montgomerie when the Scots lost to Paraguay in 1993.

As Montgomerie's tooth infection prevented him from playing, Torrance's journey on Wednesday evening was not in vain. The last time Torrance appeared in the event, he captained a home win four years ago. His victory over Fretes, by the score of 75 to 77, hinged on the 17th, where Torrance got up and down from the road behind the green and Fretes took a six.

"I had not hit a shot since the Lancome three weeks ago and if I had not been here I'd probably have been playing with the new edition to the family," Torrance said, referring to a black labrador they have named Jesse, after the Ryder Cup captain Mark James. "I'm glad, it took me a long time to do something Monty couldn't do."

Torrance will be able to carry on using his broomhandled putter for another four years after the Royal and Ancient decided against banning the controversial implements in the new set of rules that will come into effective from 1 January, 2000.

"There was an unusual amount of passion about it in committee but after discussing it thoroughly, we did not get close to outlawing long putters," said Ian Pattinson, chairman of the R & A's Rules of Golf committee.

The revision has few main changes but, as while putting, caddies will now not be able to remain behind a player to line them up while a shot is taken, a practice often employed on the women's tour.

Carlos Franco, who has won twice on the US tour this season, scored a day's best 65 to beat Gary Orr by eight stokes but Paul Lawrie, the Open champion, holed a 10-footer at the last for a two-shot win over Carlos's brother, Angel.Scotland play Japan today, who only lost to the Australians when Craig Parry sank a chip for an eagle from 50 yards at the 18th to come from one behind to beat Tsuyoshi Yoneyama.

For England to avoid defeat by India, James, relishing the chance to play rather than captain, holed from 18 feet on the 17th over Jyoti Randhawa. In the same group, South Africa survived against China after Ernie Els and David Frost turned their matches on the back nine, but Retief Goosen, hoping to equal Greg Norman's record of 11 successive wins in the event, lost to Wu Xiang-Bing.

Ireland had an impressive clean-sweep against Zimbabwe but, after Sergio Garcia's 67 to beat Jeff Remesy, Jose Maria Olazabal only beat Jean Van de Velde at the 19th to give Spain victory over France.

Olazabal's wayward driver put his tee shot at the 17th into the grounds of the hotel and he also visited the Road Hole Bunker on the way to a seven. One behind the Frenchman, Olazabal then pitched to three feet at the last to force the play-off and then birdied the first.

DUNHILL CUP RESULTSGROUP ONESweden bt Italy 3-0(Swe names first: G Hjertstedt 71 bt C Rocca 75; J Sandelin 72 bt M Scarpa 79; P Sjoland 67 bt E Canonica 75).USA bt New Zealand 2-1(United States names first: M O'Meara 73 bt G Turner 74; P Stewart 76 lost to M Long 72; T Lehman 71 bt M Campbell 74).GROUP TWOScotland bt Paraguay 2-1(Sco names first: S Torrance 75 bt R Fretes 77; G Orr 73 lost to C Franco 65; P Lawrie 71 bt A Franco 73).Australia bt Japan 2-1(Aus names first: C Parry 69 bt T Yoneyama 70; P O'Malley 74 lost to I Aoki 72; S Leaney 69 bt K Tomori 70).GROUP THREEEngland bt India 2-1(Eng names first: L Westwood 73 lost to J M Singh 70; M James 72 bt J Randhawa 73; D Howell 71 bt V Kumar 72).South Africa bt China 2-1(SA names first: E Els 72 bt Zhang Lian Wei 74; D Frost 69 bt Cheng Jun 72; R Goosen 73 lost to Wu Xiang Bing 72).GROUP FOURIreland bt Zimbabwe 3-0(Irl names first: P McGinley 70 bt T Johnstone 75; D Clarke 69 bt M McNulty 74; P Harrington 71 bt N Price 72).Spain bt France 2-1(Sp names first: M A Jimenez 73 lost to M Farry 68; S Garcia 67 bt J- F Remesy 70; J M Olazabal 74 bt J Van de Velde 74 at first extra hole).

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