Refined style takes Price out into the lead

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Nick Price shot a best of the day 67 at Sun City yesterday to lead the Million Dollar Challenge at the half-way stage while the defending champion, Nick Faldo, struggled home in 78 - his worst round of the year.

Faldo had one of the most remarkable rounds of his career, going out in a nine-over-par 45 but shooting three under for the back nine. His troubles began when he hit two balls in the green-side lake at the par- three fourth for a quadruple-bogey seven. He then took a seven at the par-four eighth.

"The strange thing was I wasn't hitting the ball that badly," said Faldo, who finished 12 shots adrift of Price. "But the rough is so bad this week that if you're 10 feet off line you have no shot. I had four weeks off before this tournament and my short game is not sharp, but I'm really happy about how I recovered."

Price bogeyed the first hole but from then on played an error-free game to build a lead of three shots over Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer.

He was out in level par but stormed home in 31 with five birdies, including three in the last four holes. "I've made a few swing refinements and I feel I'm hitting my irons as well as at any time in my career," Price said.

The joint overnight leader Pavin shot a 72, one better than Sam Torrance who dropped to two under. Torrance spoiled his round with a seven at the par five ninth - the hole he eagled on his way to the joint lead on Thursday.

After a 69, the second best round of the day, Langer said he did not think Price's three-shot lead was significant. "You can lose three shots on one hole the way the course is set up," he said.

Ernie Els remained in contention after a second successive 72 - six behind Price. He was critical of the difficult pin positions. "With the rough up they should put the pins in easier places. The crowd don't want to see us struggling out there," he said.

n Craig Parry took advantage of receptive greens to shoot a six-under- par 67 for a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Greg Norman Classic at The Lakes course, Sydney. Parry led with 132, but he was overshadowed by the 28-year-old Frenchman, Jean-Louis Guepy, with 10-under-par course record 63 to move up to second place.

Scores, Sporting Digest, page 27