Russell revels in the challenge

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The Independent Online
David A Russell, who fought a successful battle against cancer two years ago, carded his best round in any Open yesterday as he shot 68, including five birdies, at Royal Troon.

His three-round total of 215 has put him in with a chance of his highest finish in an Open and he said: "My health is good. I'm feeling really fit and everything's great."

After his past troubles, which included a car crash 11 year ago in America, leaving him with a damaged back, 1997 is proving to be a renaissance for the 39-year-old from Kent.

Having spent 16 years on the main tour without tasting victory, he lost his card and is now campaigning on the Challenge Tour - the European Tour's second division - to get it back.

Last month in Berlin the elusive win came his way when he won the Audi Quattro Trophy. "It was good to have a victory after all that time," said Russell. "You have to win on the Challenge Tour otherwise you get nowhere. I'm now seventh in the rankings and my aim is to regain my standing on the main tour."

But Russell still does not know how many Opens he has played. "I'll ring my mum to see how many of these little badges she's got," he said, pointing to his official player's badge.