Relief for Price as big guns misfire to leave him out in front

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The Independent Online

Phillip Price said he was relieved after he surpassed numerous big names to lead the Abu Dhabi Championship leaderboard at the halfway stage. The 40-year-old Welshman has not led a tournament for nearly four years but yesterday he hit a seven-under-par 65 to move one shot clear of Padraig Harrington.

"The last time I led was when I won the Smurfit European Open in 2003," he said. "I can't think of another time. I finished third in Madrid and that gave me a massive boost to play well. I had not done that all year."

Price teed off in the morning and with the likes of Retief Goosen, Nick Dougherty and Henrik Stenson not starting until the afternoon, it seemed his time at the top would be short-lived. But the trio all endured a disappointing round to leave Price in a solid position for the final two rounds.

Last season's European Tour Order of Merit winner Harrington shot five birdies on his opening nine holes and looked set to build a solid lead. However, two bogeys when coming home meant he hit a five-under-par 67 for a nine-under 135.

"If you offered me five under before going out I would have definitely taken it," he said. "I'm always disappointed to finish with a bogey but nine under par after two rounds, if you had offered me that I would have taken your hand off."

* England's Laura Davies and Trish Johnson made a disappointing start to the Women's World Cup of Golf at Sun City yesterday - but Scotland were tied for third. Mhairi McKay had a three-under-par 69, the joint best score of the day, and Janice Moodie a 76 to put the Scots in one over par behind Paraguay and South Korea. But Davies (78) and Johnson (76) were 15 shots off the lead.

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