New clubs the key for Lorenzo-Vera

Frenchman who gave away old irons out of frustration thrives with replacements
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The Independent Online

Little did the delighted young boy know when Michael Lorenzo-Vera handed him his ball after his second round of the European Open yesterday. If the Frenchman had shot a 79 instead of a 69 he might well have given him his clubs as well. For that is exactly what he did in Dubai at the start of the year.

As it is Lorenzo-Vera will be needing them today as he goes out holding the lead at eight-under alongside Jeev Milkha Singh. It was inevitable he would be asked to recount his moment of obscene generosity at the Desert Classic. The scene was again outside the recorder's hut, but this time his mood was much, much different.

Lorenzo-Vera's expression might have implied that this was the wrong time to be asking him for a handout, but exactly the reverse was true. "Usually I break the clubs when I'm angry but Raphaël Jacquelin told me one day, 'Don't break them, give them away'," said the man from Biarritz. "So when this little boy came up and asked me for a ball I said, 'I have something better for you than just that. Here's my irons. Take the lot'. He was a very happy little boy."

Indeed he should have been as they would have been worth somewhere in the region of £2,000. So off the lad toddled – doubtless to log on to eBay – and off Lorenzo-Vera went to resurrect his game. Only now does it seem to be turning around for the 24-year-old, although the early starter did enjoy the easier conditions here yesterday. As Singh may just mention to him today.

It was some going by the Indian to knock it around in three-under as the wind got up and the scoring followed suit. Henrik Stenson will testify how difficult the Kent course became.

The world No 5's 80 completed a miserable two for the Swede who missed the cut at Wentworth, although he was in good company struggling here. Sergio Garcia shot a 75, as did Lee Westwood, while John Daly bode farewell to Europe for the moment with a 76. The Wild Thing has caused quite a stir on Tour in the last five weeks and will surely prove a welcome addition on the PGA Tour when his six-month suspension is lifted next week in Memphis. European golf will unanimously agree that Daly cannot come back to these climes soon enough.

Who knows, by the time he returns Anthony Wall may finally have won the tournament his form deserves. The Englishman has been consistency in spikes this year, recording five top 10s, yet strangely his barren run continues. Wall has only triumphed once on Tour, way back in 2000, but in the intervening period he has collected nigh on £3.5m. "To win you've got to putt well for four days," he said. "And to be honest I've only putted well for four days once or twice in my life."

At least Wall, is halfway to a hat-trick, performing ably on the greens in his 69 to stand in third on seven under. "It's my birthday, I'm 34 today, but I'm not planning on doing much tonight," he said. Just dreaming of a big silver trophy.

*Paul Casey, the World No 3, shot a 67 yesterday to stand seven under and seven shots behind the clubhouse leader Steve Stricker in the second round of the Crowne Plaza invitational at Colonial in Texas. His fellow Englishman Luke Donald is also seven under after a round of 65.