Lehman stuck in slow lane on route 66

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The Independent Online
Tom Lehman took nine hours and 40 minutes to complete his second round in the Gulfstream World Invitational. "Boy, there is a slow play problem in Europe," he said. The American could afford to be in a jokey mood after sitting out a near five hour delay to record a 66 and take a three-shot half-way lead at 11 under par.

Steve Jones, his US World Cup partner, had finished many hours earlier with a 65 to take second place and no doubt had polished off a sizeable dinner by the time Lehman visited the press room at 10pm. "I came to tuck you all in," Lehman said. "The cookies are on the way."

A thunderstorm and the constant threat of lightning returning had kept more than half the field off the course until 8.10pm. "I took a nap and had lunch three times," Lehman said. "I could not see the ball land on the last two holes, but we did not want to come back at seven in the morning. I did not have a bogey again and that shows that my concentration is good."

In contrast to the previous day's glorious sunshine, yesterday dawned grey and cool, with more of a breeze than for the first round. Jones kept his jacket on for the front nine to keep warm but by compiling his score early in the morning, he avoided the frustrations of being interrupted later on. That would have been a shame, as he was on a roll from the moment he slotted in an eight-foot putt for an eagle at the third.

Five more birdies, and just one dropped shot, followed. "I feel I am getting back to being close to the form when I won the US Open," he said. The 38-year-old followed that success by winning the Phoenix Open in January by 11 strokes. "When I am swinging well and my putting is going, I can win any tournament, anywhere," the 38-year-old added. "I am a streaky player."

In April and May, however, Jones missed four cuts in a row. "I felt I could not break 100," he said. Not that he contemplated retirement or anything so extreme. "What would I do if I retired? I'd go fishing and play golf. That's what I do at the moment already, but I wouldn't get paid."

Greg Norman added a second 68 to move to six under, but Nick Faldo regressed with a 73. "It did not feel right for most of the round from the opening tee shot," said the Englishman after he came home in three over. It hardly seems the best time to go back to the drawing board, but Faldo left seeking the answer to what was wrong. "I need a lot of practice, I guess. I need a good session on everything, swing, putting, in the bunkers to get things back in shape."

The record holders from the first round found life trickier upon the resumption. Joakim Haeggman took a double-bogey at the 16th hole and Paul Curry a bogey at the last to fall back to seven under after rounds of 72. Paul Affleck was most severely caught out when play was suspended at 3.15pm. At four over playing the last, the Welshman was unlikely to make the cut, but by playing a shot after the siren had sounded, which is not permitted in a dangerous weather situation, he was disqualified.

GULFSTREAM LOCH LOMOND WORLD INVITATIONAL Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 131 T Lehman (US) 65 66. 134 S Jones (US) 69 65. 135 P Curry 63 72; J Haeggman (Swe) 63 72. 136 G Norman (Aus) 68 68; S Field 68 68. 137 T Purtzer (US) 68 69; S McAllister 69 68. 138 P Broadhurst 68 70; G Day (US) 66 72; D Tapping 71 67; M Hallberg (Swe) 67 71. 139 J Sandelin (Swe) 67 72; L Mize 70 69 (US); P O'Malley (Aus) 71 68; A Cabrera (Arg) 67 72; C Montgomerie 69 70; E Els (Rsa) 70 69; T Bjorn (Den) 72 67. 140 I Garbutt 69 71; R Allenby (Aus) 68 72; D Clarke 72 68; N Faldo 67 73; C Suneson (Spa) 70 70; J Rask (Swe) 70 70; R Russell 70 70; P Stewart (US) 73 67. 141 R Lee 70 71; D Cooper 71 70; P Mitchell 69 72; R Karlsson (Swe) 70 71; C Rocca (It) 70 71; R Goosen (SA) 71 70; J Parnevik (Swe) 70 71. Selected: 143 I Woosnam 72 71. 144 G Turner (NZ) 73 71; J M Olazabal (Sp) 70 74; T Tolles (US) 72 72 145 B Langer (Ger) 73 72. 148 S Torrance 73 75. 149 G Brand Jnr 73 76; S Lyle 74 75. 153 W Riley (Aus) 78 75. 158 S Ballesteros (Sp) 79 79.