Lively Lane challenges Westwood

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The Independent Online

Lee Westwood continued his impressive warm up to the USPGA Championship by holding on to his lead in the Scandinavian Masters here yesterday.

Lee Westwood continued his impressive warm up to the USPGA Championship by holding on to his lead in the Scandinavian Masters here yesterday.

The world No 5 - two clear overnight - added a second-round 67 to his opening 63 for a 12-under-par halfway total of 130 in his last event before heading to Valhalla for the final Major of the year.

That was good enough to maintain his cushion over the rest of the field, with compatriot Barry Lane the surprise name heading the chasing pack. The Netherlands' Maarten Lafeber was a shot behind Lane on nine under after a 66, with the Australian John Senden another stroke adrift following a fine 64.

Westwood's stablemate Darren Clarke could provide the biggest threat over the weekend. The Ulsterman, battling it out with his close friend to overhaul Ernie Els at the top of the order of merit, is on seven under after a 66.

Lane, who started six shots off the pace after an opening 69, matched Westwood's first-day 63 with eight birdies and no dropped shots to be just two adrift and signal a return to the sort of form that earned him a place in the European Ryder Cup team in 1993.

The 40-year-old from Middlesex has won four times on the European Tour and earned $1m (£666,000) at the Andersen Consulting World Championship in 1995, but has not tasted victory since and has had just one top-20 finish this season.

A new mental approach has proved the turning point in his fortunes, with the emphasis firmly back on enjoying his golf once more. "I just decided to change my attitude," explained Lane, who chipped in from 20 yards for his first birdie on the third and holed a bunker shot on the 13th. "There was absolutely nothing wrong with my golf and never has been, but my attitude has not been good. When I was playing well I did not worry about the bad rounds, but it started to get to me and I was trying too hard."

Westwood could not quite reproduce the fireworks of his first round and at one stage, when he bogeyed the second - his 11th - he was only level with Lane. But he eagled the fifth for the second day running and also birdied the eighth to leave him quietly satisfied despite a three putt for par on his last hole, the par-five ninth.

Colin Montgomerie will no doubt also be looking forward to the USPGA at Valhalla in Kentucky from 17-20 August and may already be resigned to going there having relinquished his grip on the title.

The 37-year-old Scot, who carded a 68 yesterday, had played just one hole by the time Westwood had finished and found himself nine shots adrift.

The world No 4 briefly reduced the deficit with a birdie on the second, but never got out of first gear and had to settle for a frustrating 71 to be still nine shots back going into the final two rounds.

Scandinavian Masters (Stockholm) Second-round leading scores: 130 L Westwood 63 67; 132 B Lane 69 63; 133 M Lafeber (Neth) 67 66; 134 J Senden (Aus) 70 64; 135 D Clarke 69 66, O Karlsson (Swe) 66 69; 136 D Borrego (Sp) 66 70, F Lindgren (Swe) 68 68, S Webster 72 64; 137 I Hutchings (SA) 67 70, F Tarnaud (Fr) 72 65; 138 G Brand Jnr 68 70, K Tomori (Japan) 65 73, R Russell 69 69; 139 J Moseley (Aus) 73 66, S Tinning (Den) 71 68, S Dyson 71 68, T Gillis (US) 70 69, A McLardy (SA) 70 69, D Lee 71 68, R Gonzalez (Arg) 71 68, C Montgomerie 68 71, J Spence 70 69; 140 K Storgaard (Den) 73 67, D Lynn 69 71, G Murphy 72 68, M Campbell (NZ) 69 71, H Stenson (Swe) 69 71, T Levet (Fr) 69 71, T Johnstone (Zim) 72 68, J Parnevik (Swe) 71 69, S Struver (Ger) 69 71, P Nyman (Swe) 71 69, Simon Hurley 71 69. Selected: 143 I Woosnam 72 71.

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