Love's labours bring him lead

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The Independent Online
DAVIS LOVE claimed a one-shot lead at the half-way point of the Doral Ryder Open here but missed the opportunity to pull away from the field. Love, the joint overnight leader, scored a three-under-par 69, including five birdies and two bogeys, but failed to land five birdie chances from 10 feet or less.

This enabled Russ Cochran, whose 64 was the lowest round of the day, to keep in contention, and Love admitted: "I feel like I haven't scored great the last two days. It was a pretty easy 65 yesterday and I threw away a lot of shots today. I'm confident that I can shoot low scores and if I can get in the lead, my game is good enough to keep it there."

Cochran, who shot an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey in his round, said: "I've missed the last four cuts. I haven't played a good round in forever. I've been suffering from a bad thumb joint for the past eight months, so this was out of the blue."

The left-handed Cochran expressed great surprise at his position in the tournament as well as his eight-under round. "I have no idea where this came from," he said.

A group of five, including the former Doral champion Greg Norman, were two off the pace while Sweden's Jesper Parnevik led the European challenge, three behind Love.

Nick Faldo, who seemed to have conquered his putting problems on American greens with an opening-round 67, was a shot further adrift after scoring a one-under-par 71, which included four birdies and three bogeys.

The two-time Order of Merit leader Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer also remained in the hunt at four under. But Seve Ballesteros, of Spain, and David Feherty both missed the cut after shooting level-par rounds of 72.

Both times that Norman won this event, he shot a course- record round of 62 at the weekend. He said after Friday's four-birdie 68 that he was playing well enough to shoot another 62 this weekend.

"When this tournament came along, I felt my mental approach click up a notch or two and I got ready to play," Norman said.