Leader learns from his wife

Golf
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The Independent Online
Jean Van de Velde had a word with the wife and established a course record in the second round of the Loch Lomond World Invitational; Howard Clark spoke to his better half and promptly disqualified himself. "Some people can play the course, others can't," John Paramor, the tournament director, said as the European Tour came in for more heavy flak.

The number of players below par dwindled to a handful on a day when the majority thought the positions of the flags made a difficult course virtually unplayable. The Anzac axis of Frank Nobilo and Peter O'Malley were particularly critical after scoring 79 and 78 respectively. "Some of the pin positions were ridiculous," Nobilo said, before packing his bags. "This is the sixth or seventh time it's happened this year."

Nobilo wants a non-European on the executive. "We would be more honest in our opinions," he said. Another player said: "All the members are Ken Schofield's yes men." Schofield, the executive director of the Tour, is still dealing with the backlash from the British Masters at Collingtree.

O'Malley, who comfortably made the half-way cut here yesterday despite standing at six over par, said: "This is one of the best courses and they've gone and stuffed it up. The pin positions are an absolute disgrace. Someone needs to be fired. They won't listen and they haven't got a clue what they're doing."

Gordon Sherry also joined in even though he is the touring professional for Loch Lomond. He described the pin positions as a "joke", adding: "It's a stern enough test without making the course stupid. They have to make the greens softer. This is not the real Loch Lomond."

The discord was not unanimous and, in fact, the ground staff have been watering the greens, hardened by lack of rain, overnight. Colin Montgomerie, three strokes off the lead, gave short shrift to the moaners. "Tell them to go and play in Asia," Monty said.

Van de Velde shot 65, coming home in 31 with just 11 putts. He put it down to a putting tip from his wife, Brigitte. "She thought I was doing something wrong," the Frenchman said. "She only plays about three rounds a year but she is an incredible putter."

Howard Clark, following an 82 in the first round, returned to his hotel, rang his wife and in the process of describing his round realised he had signed for a five at the 13th hole instead of a six. He informed the tournament office and was disqualified for signing for a wrong score. At Collingtree he also made a premature departure, on that occasion blaming a shoulder injury.

The par here is 71 although it is playing more like a 74. Nick Faldo had a 73 and at one under for the tournament is only two strokes behind Thomas Bjorn despite missing three short putts to drop strokes at the third, fourth and fifth. Faldo bade farewell to Tom Weiskopf, one of his playing partners and the man principally responsible for designing Loch Lomond GC, who finished at 15 over par.

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