Park relief in chase for card

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The Independent Online

David Park thrived under the pressure of fighting to keep his European Tour card when he swept to a 64 in the first round of the Cannes Open.

The Welshman made an instant impact on joining the tour in 1999, winning the European Grand Prix at Slaley Hall in his second tournament, seven days after losing out in a six-hole play-off to Miguel Angel Martin on his debut in Morocco.

Park finished 40th in the Order of Merit that season but after finishing 68th in 2000, he has struggled to rediscover his form. Thirteen missed cuts in 25 events this season have left him 142nd on the money list and in need of some good performances in the final four events to get into the top 115 and keep his playing privileges.

His first-round 64 yesterday, eight under par, gave him the perfect platform to ease his worries this week, however, in a tournament revived at two weeks' notice by the European Tour and Park's ISM management group after the late cancellation of the Estoril Open. He ended the day two shots behind lthe eader Lucas Parsons, the Australian firing a brilliant 62.

"It's been a long time since I've had a round of golf with such few mistakes," said Park, who had just one bogey and nine birdies in perfect scoring conditions on the Cote d'Azur. "I haven't been 100 per cent all year with a few niggles, so it's been a frustrating year all in all."