Swede's lead slips as Rodiles reigns

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The Independent Online

The attempt to play twice in one day around the daunting test that is Valderrama caught up with Fredrik Jacobson as the Swede lost his lead in the Volvo Masters to Spain's Carlos Rodiles. After play was washed out on Friday, the third round was halted with the man from just up the road in Malaga at 11 under par and two ahead of Jacobson. The two leaders will resume on the 13th tee this morning, with officials hopeful of completing 72 holes this evening.

The 28-year-old Rodiles came with a late rush of four birdies in five holes from the seventh to overtake the flagging Swede. Anders Hansen, of Denmark, was four behind Jacobson, while John Bickerton, Brian Davis, after an outward 31 in the third round, and Greg Owen all lurked a little further back. Fewer than a dozen players remained under par for the tournament, while only a third of the field completed their third rounds. Jacobson was as many as six ahead during the second round when a 71 eventually left him two ahead of Rodiles, who came home in 31 for 69.

With a tricky wind, conditions were not easy, but Jacobson showed how remarkable a temperament he has by following most of his bogeys with a birdie or, in the case of the seventh, an eagle. When they went out again after barely half an hour for lunch, Jacobson took a double bogey at the short third, while a birdie from Rodiles took him briefly to the top of the leaderboard. But Jacobson again responded, and four birdies in a row gave him a comfortable lead again. His main weakness was leaving himself too much to do after chipping poorly, and his short game cost him bogeys at the eighth and the 12th, while he dropped another at the 10th when he took an unplayable after his drive finished beside a tree.

The highlight of Bickerton's day came when he holed in one at the sixth hole, with an eight-iron from 163 yards. It was the third ace of his career but he was rewarded only in champagne, the sponsors not being keen on putting up one of their cars only for a player to give it to his caddie. Owen's 67 in the morning's second round was the best effort of anyone in the field by two strokes. The Mansfield player, who won the British Masters in June, went to the turn in 32, chipping in at the ninth, and had three birdies in a row from the 12th.

"When it is as tough as this with the blustery wind you have to go out and just try and enjoy it," Owen said. "I had a good feel for the wind and my distance control was good. You have to hit the fairways here, and that suits my game." Owen was swinging slightly within himself as he is suffering from a bout of sciatica. "The physios have worked really hard on my back and are doing a good job," he said. "With my rugby background, I'm just playing through it."

Colin Montgomerie was three under on Thursday until his back played up again on the closing few holes, and a 74 in the second round left him in over-par figures. The frustrations of the front nine boiled over on the ninth hole, where he stomped off the green and threw a ball into a concrete path and it rebounded nearly, hitting a window of the nearby apartment block.

"I had just lipped out for the fourth time in a row and I am competitive," said Monty, whose MBE could sometimes stand for Mainly Behaving Egregiously. It was all part of letting off steam, which was the main fuel which powered his seven Order of Merit victories in a row.

"If I didn't have steam," Monty said, "I wouldn't be as competitive as I am or have been as successful as I have been, so I am glad I have it." It is a good job for the Scot that the Royal and Ancient's new Rules of Golf do not come into effect until 1 January next year. The latest code has an expanded section on etiquette which states that players "should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be."

There is also the recommendation that players "remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out." When Thomas Bjorn, who had waved Monty goodbye as he walked away from the green, and Davis putted out on the ninth, Monty was out of sight by the 10th tee. Bjorn might have been thinking of the warning words of one of his countrymen, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who once said that: "Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it."

If Seve Ballesteros is looking for a gift to give his fellow captain at this week's match in Valencia between Europe and Britain and Ireland for the Seve Trophy, he could try another Royal and Ancient publication, Don't Be A Golf Menace, a booklet on etiquette. But then they could probably swap the same present.

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