Old iron works for Woosnam

A search in his garage paid huge dividends for Ian Woosnam yesterday as he rediscovered form in the French Open at Le Golf National.

A search in his garage paid huge dividends for Ian Woosnam yesterday as he rediscovered form in the French Open at Le Golf National.

Thinking ahead to next Monday's Open qualifying at Sunningdale, Woosnam unearthed a one-iron he reckoned was 21 years old and decided it might have its uses this week. On a course where the rough is thicker than last week's US Open, the 46-year-old stayed out of trouble to shoot a four-under-par 67 to put him one shot behind the South African Darren Fichardt.

Woosnam said of the one-iron: "The loft on it has been bent all sorts of ways and it's had a few shafts in it, but it's it's perfect for here."

The former World No 1, now ranked 278th in the world and 109th on this season's European Order of Merit, has not won since the 2001 World Matchplay at Wentworth and his last strokeplay success was seven years ago. But his revival was not all down to the one-iron. Woosnam also changed his swing, went with a new caddie and switched to a short putter, not without some trepidation.

After starting at the 10th, he was one over at the turn, despite the strong wind. The 1991 Masters champion covered the longer front nine in 31 with birdies at the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth. But Fichardt, whose two European tour wins have come in Brazil and Qatar, came home in 31 to take the lead when conditions eased.

Woosnam is among a host of stars at the Open qualifier - with Colin Montgomerie, Justin Rose, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal - but he does at least have happy memories of Sunningdale, where he won the 1988 European Open. But while he prospered, others suffered. For the second week running Miguel Angel Jimenez had a nine on his card, the South African Hennie Otto took 10 on the same 596-yard ninth and Swede Klas Eriksson ran up an 11 at the 399-yard 15th.

Langer, the Ryder Cup captain, back after eight weeks out with a wrist injury, double-bogeyed the ninth and 17th in his 77 and Rose double-bogeyed the ninth and 18th for a 75.

Montgomerie also went into the water at the last for a 74, while in the race for Ryder Cup places it was a good day for 10th-placed Ian Poulter, a poor one for ninth-placed Brian Davis and an awful one for sixth-placed Paul Casey. They were one under, four over and six over respectively.

Essex's Simon Khan, in his first appearance since beating Casey in a play-off for the Wales Open, out-scored playing partners Montgomerie with a 73, but defending champion Philip Golding, bothered by tennis elbow, slumped to an 83.

FRENCH OPEN (Paris) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 66 D Fichardt (SA). 67 I Woosnam. 68 R Green (Aus). 69 J-F Remesy (Fra). 70 Ian Poulter, Mark Roe, Cesar Monasterio (Arg), Graeme McDowell. 71 David Howell, David Dixon, Peter Fowler (Aus), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Marcel Siem (Ger). 72 Gordon Brand Jnr, David Lynn, Gregory Havret (Fra), Gary Evans, Markus Brier (Aut), Matthew Blackey. 73 Diego Borrego (Spa), Martin Erlandsson (Swe), Ivo Giner (Spa), Peter O'Malley (Aus), Nick O'Hern (Aus), Andrew Marshall, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Benjamin Nicolay (Fra), Bradley Dredge, Stephen Dodd, Miguel Angel Martin (Spa), Jarrod Moseley (Aus), Stephen Gallacher, Simon Khan, Jonathan Lomas, John Bickerton. Selected: 74 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), Jean Van de Velde (Fra). 75 Justin Rose.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'