Walton gains after pain

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The Independent Online
Philip Walton decided it was time to kick-start his season in Cannes yesterday and not even a sore big toe stopped him from doing it.

Walton, the man who held his nerve to secure the winning point for Europe in the Ryder Cup at Oak Hill last September, shot a six under par 65 to lie joint second behind Spanish rookie Fernando Roca, whose 64 equalled the Royal Mougins course record.

On a day when there were three holes-in-one - just as there were on the opening day of the Madeira Island Open three weeks ago - Walton at last returned to the form that earned him his cup debut.

In his five previous starts this year, the 34-year-old Irishman has earned a mere pounds 2,480 and he is languishing in 156th place in the Order of Merit. But, despite needing some pain-killers before the start of the pounds 400,000 event, he did not drop a stroke.

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