Swede misses out on record

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Patrik Sjoland narrowly missed birdie putts on the last two holes to lose a chance of becoming the first European Tour player to break 60 in a full event, in the second round of the Czech Open near Prague yesterday.

The Swede's 10-under-par 61 sliced three strokes off the Karlstein course record and earned him a share of the lead with Spain's Ryder Cup prospect, Ignacio Garrido, and another Spaniard, Miguel Jimenez.

Early evening thunderstorms halted proceedings with 36 players left to complete their second rounds this morning. The first-round leader, Britain's Scott Henderson, was nine under par, two shots off the lead, with three holes left when play stopped.

Sjoland was a stroke off the European Tour record for 18 holes as he joined Garrido and Jimenez on 11-under-par 131, two strokes ahead of the field. The Swede also equalled the best score of the year, by Britain's Jamie Spence at the Cannes Open, as he picked up 10 birdies by the time he came to the eighth, his 17th hole.

Needing two more birdies for the first 59, a putt of 18 feet spun out of the cup on the eighth and he just missed the hole at the ninth, his last, from 15 feet.

Sjoland had switched to an old putter and needed only 25 putts in his round. "I started thinking about the record after I birdied the fourth, my 13th hole." said Sjoland, who led last year's Italian Open with five holes left but finished second. "But when I lipped out on the eighth I knew it wasn't to be."

Garrido continued his challenge for a Ryder Cup place with a 65, while Jimenez posted 64. Another Swede, Daniel Chopra, is in the clubhouse on 133 after a 63.

Garrido, 10th in the Cup table in his race for a place on Seve Ballesteros's team against the United States next month, can clinch his Cup place three weeks before the qualifying deadline, but Italy's Costantino Rocca, ninth, is almost certain to miss the cut here by a stroke. He could also be passed by in the table by Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who is six off the lead after a 68.