Tag Archives: olazabal

Jose Maria Olazabal in Ryder Cup captain"s buggy at Spanish Open

Olazabal has best drive at Spanish Open with signed Ryder Cup captain's buggy

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

15:01 GMT, 17 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 17 April 2013

Jose Maria Olazabal has a cool set of wheels at the Spanish Open with the former Ryder Cup captain cruising around in his skipper's buggy.

Olazabal masterminded Europe's win over the United States at Medinah last year and all 12 of his players signed the front of his cart.

Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari are the only two of Olazabal's troops teeing it up in Valencia this week – the former the bookies' favourite and the latter the defending champion.

Home hopes: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Sergio Garcia at Parador de El Saler for the Spanish Open

Home hopes: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Sergio Garcia at Parador de El Saler for the Spanish Open

Garcia, who finished in a tie for eighth at The Masters on Sunday, was all smiles as he hitched a lift with Olazabal during Wednesday's practice at Parador de El Saler.

Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Jimenez will put his recovery from a broken leg to the test on his return to action in Valencia.

Jimenez, who surpassed Des Smyth as the oldest winner on the European Tour when he lifted the Hong Kong Open aged 48 years and 318 days last November, suffered the injury a month later while skiing near his home in Malaga.

'My leg is improving daily,' the 49-year-old told reporters. 'I work out every morning in the gym and I'm actually a little ahead of schedule on my rehab. I am not one hundred per cent fit, but I want to test myself and see how I feel.

Good to be back: Miguel Angel Jimenez is making his return to action after recovering from a broken leg

Good to be back: Miguel Angel Jimenez is making his return to action after recovering from a broken leg

'I can't wait to be back on Tour with my friends and I'd hate to miss the chance of playing at El Saler.'

Jimenez made his tour debut in the Spanish Open 30 years ago and will be making his 599th career appearance this week.

'Javier Arana's wonderful design blends beautifully with its natural surroundings, both in the pine trees area and in the dunes area. For me it's the best course in Spain and I love all the holes,' Jimenez added.

'It's a beautiful layout with a strong finish; the 17th is a good par three towards the dunes and the 18th is spectacular. Once you play at El Saler you get hooked. It's such an enjoyable course that you keep wanting to come back.

'I have many fond memories of El Saler. We used to play many tournaments in the 80's and I won an Under-25 event in 1986. We also played two or three Campeonatos de Levante, and later on a few European Tour events. The last I played was the 2003 Seve Trophy.'

Different ball game: Garcia and his dad Victor watch former tennis ace Juan Carlos Ferrero during the pro-am

Different ball game: Garcia and his dad Victor watch former tennis ace Juan Carlos Ferrero during the pro-am

MASTERS 2013: Jose Maria Olazabal hits fan with ball on eighth hole of practice round

Ryder Cup winning captain Olazabal leaves spectator in bloody mess at Augusta after accidentally striking him with golf ball

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:06 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 8 April 2013

A spectator was left with blood pouring from his head after he was struck by Jose Maria Olazabal's golf ball during the opening day of practice for this week's Masters.

Olazabal, the last European to don the Green Jacket back in 1999, accidentally struck the fan with his shot on the eighth hole at Augusta National.

The spectator fell to the ground clutching his head with his hand before being escorted away by medical staff.

Down and out: The fan was seen clutching his head after he was knocked to the ground

Down and out: The fan was seen clutching his head after he was knocked to the ground

Apology: Jose Maria Olazabal went to see the injured spectator on the eighth hole

Apology: Jose Maria Olazabal went to see the injured spectator on the eighth hole

Take cover: Medical staff are pictured attending to the bloody spectator on the opening day of practice

Take cover: Medical staff are pictured attending to the bloody spectator on the opening day of practice

Sign here: The Spaniard hands over his golf club with his signature to the injured fan

Sign here: The Spaniard hands over his golf club with his signature to the injured fan

Straight down the middle: Olazabal earlier in his round

Straight down the middle: Olazabal earlier in his round

Olazabal, who arrives in Georgia for
the first time since he won the Ryder Cup as European captain at Medinah
last year, attended to the fan handing him a signed glove.

The spectator received attention to the wound which was swiftly wrapped in a bandage.

Earlier, former Open champion Darren Clarke was forced to withdraw from this week's tournament through injury.

Clarke pulled a hamstring more than a
week ago while on holiday on the Bahamian island of Abaco and will miss
the season's first major championship, which gets under way on
Thursday.

'It is with deep regret that I will not be able to play at Augusta this year,' Clarke said on his official website.

'Playing in The Masters is one of golf's greatest pleasures and I am very disappointed to be missing out.'

Clarke pulled out of last week's
Valero Texas Open in the hope that further rest would speed his
recovery, but intensive treatment twice a day failed to have the
required results.

The 44-year-old Northern Irishman,
who missed the cut at Augusta last year on his first appearance since
2007, has yet to set a date for his return to action.

Colin Montgomerie worries European stars" defection to PGA Tour could weaken Ryder Cup defence

Monty worries European stars' defection to PGA Tour could weaken Ryder Cup defence

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 18 December 2012

Colin Montgomerie says that steps need to be taken to encourage Europe's stars to play more in Europe.

Ten of September's successful Ryder Cup side – all bar Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari – will be members of the PGA Tour in America next season.

Montgomerie, whose induction next year into the World Golf Hall of Fame was announced today, is a member of the European Tour's tournament committee and said: 'It's very difficult and we have to sit down and try to address this.

Miracle at Medinah: Europe's victorious Ryder Cup stars celebrate in Chicago

Miracle at Medinah: Europe's victorious Ryder Cup stars celebrate in Chicago

'Sponsorship is getting harder and the first thing a sponsor asks is “who's playing”. He wants as many Ryder Cup players as possible.

'It's important for the future of European golf.'

Tom Watson spoke last week after being named as United States captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup about the edge Europe gains by staging the match on courses well-known to their players.

The 2014 match is at Gleneagles in Scotland, but although a European Tour event has been held there every year since 1999 it does not always attract the top names.

Honour: European Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie (right) was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday

Honour: Colin Montgomerie (right) is now a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame

This August, for example, the only members of Jose Maria Olazabal's side who played there – even though it was the final qualifying event – were Lawrie, Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Montgomerie led the side at Celtic Manor two years ago and admitted today he was disappointed that more of his side did not play the Wales Open on the course four months earlier. Only seven of the 12 were there.

'We need to get our team to Gleneagles. We have to have that advantage,' the Scot said. 'In 1997 our biggest advantage was Valderrama. The Americans had three days to prepare, we had 10 years.'

Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson set for BMW Masters duel in final round

McIlroy and Hanson set for Sunday duel at Shanghai noon over BMW Masters title

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UPDATED:

09:11 GMT, 27 October 2012

Peter Hanson has world No 1 Rory McIlroy breathing down his neck with a day to go at the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

A third-round 70 took Hanson to 16 under par, but his Ryder Cup team-mate shot 69 and is now only one behind as he chases a fifth victory of the season.

South African George Coetzee's 66 brought him only three behind and then comes a further two-stroke gap to a chasing pack which includes Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Irish pair Michael Hoey and Shane Lowry.

Frustration: McIlroy throws his club on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green but still trails leader Hanson by just one shot

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Click here to see all the latest scores

Hanson was caught first by McIlroy
and then by Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts – another of the European stars in
Chicago last month – when he followed a birdie on the second with three
bogeys by the eighth.

But the Swede regained control with
birdies at the ninth, 11th, 13th and 15th. McIlroy matched two of those,
made a 14-foot putt to narrow the gap to one again on the 16th and then
lipped out from nine feet at the next.

'The wind was blowing from the
opposite direction, which made some of the holes trickier,' Hanson said.
'It was not as easy to go low and my driving was not great, but it was
still a good round.

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

'I need to play better, but if I can get back to how I was the first two days I think I have a good chance.

'To win would mean a lot. This is the start of a big stretch and it's nice to find a bit of form.'

He was the only member of Jose Maria
Olazabal's side at Medinah not to contribute anything to the points
total and was angry not to be given more than two games in the week.

McIlroy, winner of the Shanghai
Masters on the course a year ago, dropped his only shot at the long
third and had to wait until the 11th for his second birdie of the day,
but he remains favourite for a first prize of over 720,000.

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Colsaerts was only one behind when he
came to the 420-yard 16th, but driving into thick rough and then going
over the green with his third led to a double bogey and he followed it
immediately with another, pushing his tee shot to the 17th into the
lake.

That enabled Donald, Rose, Hoey,
Lowry, last year's Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Swede Alex
Noren all to move into a tie for fourth on 11 under, five back.

The highlight of Rose's round was
driving the green at the dogleg 380-yard 11th and sinking a 30-foot putt
for eagle. He came home in 32 for a 69, but is in danger of falling
further behind McIlroy in the race to be Europe's money list winner this
season.

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman has
already sealed the PGA Tour title in America and can take a huge step
tomorrow towards emulating the double achieved by Donald last year.

Robert Karlsson played with Hanson and
McIlroy, but fell 10 behind with a 75, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson,
who led by four after his opening course-record 62, is now eight back
after disappointing rounds of 74 and 72.

Rory McIlroy shines in BMW Masters second round in Shanghai

McIlroy charges through the field to put heat on Hanson as Ryder stars shine in Shanghai

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 26 October 2012

Peter Hanson, the one European to draw a blank at the Ryder Cup, now has 10 of his team-mates chasing him at the top of the BMW Masters leaderboard in Shanghai, including a certain Rory McIlroy.

While Welshman Jamie Donaldson crashed from four ahead to six behind with a second round 74 – 12 worse than his opening course record – Hanson moved onto 14 under par with a nine-birdie 64.

The 35-year-old Swede, far from happy about being given only two games by captain Jose Maria Olazabal in Chicago a month ago, goes into the weekend two ahead of title favourite McIlroy.

Sign of the times: Rory McIlroy waits for a marshal to rule on his ball's lie on the seventh hole

Sign of the times: World No 1 Rory McIlroy waits for a ruling on his ball's lie on the seventh hole, before the obstruction is moved (below) so he can continue with his fine round, which ended with a seven under par 65

Good news: The sign is removed for McIlroy to play his shot
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'I'm really looking forward to it,' Hanson said. 'Playing with the world No 1 is always fun – it used to be Tiger, now it's Rory.

'I like to test myself and there's no better way than head-to-head. It's a good way to test your mental abilities and if you can play well it makes it so much nicer.

'I'll be playing 30-40 yards behind him and he's going to be tough to beat, but hopefully I can give him a match.'

McIlroy added a bogey-free 65 to his first day 67 and that opened up a three-stroke gap to third-placed Robert Karlsson, who burst out of the pack with a 64.

Looking good: McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the BMW Masters

Looking good: McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the BMW Masters

'I played very well and gave myself a lot of opportunities,' said McIlroy, seeking a fifth victory of the season on the same Lake Malaren course where he won the Shanghai Masters a year ago.

'I saw Peter was going well and wanted to stay in touch. When I needed to get up and down I was able to make those and then got on a nice little run (he had a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th).'

Donaldson's golden touch of 24 hours earlier deserted him with five bogeys in nine holes either side of the turn.

'There were too many sloppy shots,' he commented. 'It was a tough day and slightly frustrating, but that's golf sometimes.

Leading the way: Peter Hanson hits an approach during his brilliant second round of 64

Leading the way: Peter Hanson hits an approach during his brilliant second round of 64

'I started pretty good and didn't capitalise, then my iron play was poor, but you never know what you are going to get with me – it's like a box of chocolates.

'Hopefully I'll sort it out and hit it close again – if I shoot a good score I'll be right in the mix of things.'

On eight under he is in a share of fourth place with another Swede, Alex Noren, England's Justin Rose and also Irishman Shane Lowry, winner of the Portugal Masters only two weeks ago.

Lowry dropped plans to go the PGA Tour qualifying school afterwards and admitted after his 64: 'I did a bit too much celebrating – it was a bit mental – but I came here early and did a good bit of practice'.

Fashion victims: John Daly (second left) is watched by a group of local fans at Lake Malaren

Fashion victims: John Daly (second left) is watched by a group of local fans at Lake Malaren

Karlsson might have to enter the Tour school in America to keep his card there. With one event to come next month he is down at 161st on the money list and only the top 125 retain membership.

At least he is back playing well after the horrors of the summer. He was having such problems with his swing that he even pulled out of The Open just before it started.

Rose is second to McIlroy on this season's European Order of Merit – the Northern Irishman has already secured that title in the States – and a second successive 68 kept alive his hopes of reeling him in.

In the hunt: Justin Rose is clinging on to McIlroy's coat-tails in the European Tour's Race to Dubai

In the hunt: Justin Rose is clinging on to McIlroy's coat-tails in the European Tour's Race to Dubai

Luke Donald, who did the trans-Atlantic double last year, is in joint eighth place on seven under, Scot Paul Lawrie one further back and both Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter five under.

Disappointed to be alongside them is Olazabal. Freed of the pressures of the captaincy, he began with a 67 to be joint fourth, but followed it up with only a 72 on another day of low scoring.

Jamie Donaldson leads after course record at BMW Master

Donaldson outshines Ryder Cup stars…but McIlroy and Co are ready to pounce

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UPDATED:

09:48 GMT, 25 October 2012

Welshman Jamie Donaldson left Europe's Ryder Cup side trailing in his wake with a brilliant course-record 62 at the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

Donaldson, whose victory at the Irish Open in July was his first in 255 European Tour events, birdied 10 of the first 16 holes at Lake Malaren and then saw his chip to the short 17th lip out of the hole.

Catch me if you can: Welshman Jamie Donaldson is four clear after a course-record 62 at the BMW Masters

Catch me if you can: Welshman Jamie Donaldson is four clear after a course-record 62 at the BMW Masters

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The 37-year-old parred the last and has a four-stroke lead over Swede Peter Hanson and Italian Francesco Molinari.

Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, without a top-10 finish since January, and Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey were both in with 67s.

Rory McIlroy joined the pair after a superb approach to three feet at the last set up his birdie.

The world No 1 was back on the course
where he won the Shanghai Masters a year ago, playing alongside 10 of
his team-mates from Medinah. Sergio Garcia was not in attendance.

Game for a laugh: Rory McIlroy (left) kept his Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose amused in Shanghai

Game for a laugh: Rory McIlroy (left) kept his Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose amused in Shanghai

Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose were in a group on four under as the top half of the leaderboard became crammed with star names.

Donaldson told European Tour radio: 'It was one of those rounds where you hit every shot where you want to and every putt where you want to.

'The course suits me. The fairways are quite generous and if you miss the bunkers you can play aggressive golf.

'It's an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them.'

BMW Masters: Live leaderboard

BMW Masters leaderboard: Keep up to date with the latest scores

The European Tour is in Shanghai this week for the BMW Masters.

Most of Jose Maria Olazabal's Ryder Cup team are in action – Sergio Garcia is the only one missing – and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

Back together: Most of the Ryder Cup team are in Shanghai for the BMW Masters

Back together: Most of the Ryder Cup team are in Shanghai for the BMW Masters

McGladrey Classic 2012: Davis Love III and Jim Furyk share lead

Beaten Ryder Cup captain Love shares lead with Furyk at McGladrey Classic

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UPDATED:

23:17 GMT, 20 October 2012

Ryder Cup captain Davis Love and one of his beaten players from Medinah share the lead going into the final round of The McGladrey Classic.

Love and Jim Furyk both carded third rounds of 66 at Sea Island to finish the day 13 under par, two shots ahead of fellow American DJ Trahan and halfway leader Arjun Atwal of India.

Furyk returned a flawless scorecard with four birdies in his first 10 holes, while tournament host Love had two bogeys and six birdies, including one on the 18th.

Sharing: Davis Love III (right) and Jim Furyk (left) are joint leaders going into the final round

Sharing: Davis Love III (right) and Jim Furyk (left) are joint leaders going into the final round

Both men are looking to banish memories of the Ryder Cup, where Jose Maria Olazabal's European side came from 10-6 down on the final day to claim a remarkable victory.

But for Furyk in particular tomorrow represents a chance to make partial amends for a nightmare season with a first win since 2010.

The 42-year-old lost in a four-man play-off at the Transitions Championship, failed to win the US Open after leading with three holes to play, double-bogeyed the 72nd hole to lose the Bridgestone Invitational and bogeyed the final two holes to lose his singles match to Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup.

Packed out: The crowds turned out to watch the defeated USA Ryder Cup stars back in action

Packed out: The crowds turned out to watch the defeated USA Ryder Cup stars back in action

'He was real close to an All-Star, hero year,' Love said of Furyk. 'And that showed today. He came out firing and looked like he was going to birdie every hole.'

Furyk added on www.pgatour.com: 'You get your tail kicked in this game a lot and I think it makes the good times and the wins that much sweeter.

'I'm not one of those people that after those events, I never sat back and didn't work. It made me work harder.'

Coming into the event with low expectations has worked in Furyk's favour and he added: 'If I now said, 'OK, I'm tied for the lead and there's only one round to go' and I try to flip my mindset, I'm going to get tight and it's going to be harder to score.

'I had played a lot of golf, I was tired, so I was trying to get away and felt that was the best thing I could do at the time, so I came in here just not really expecting that much.

'I know I'm playing well, I know my game's in good shape, so let's see what happens. And I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow.'

Missed out: Furyk squandered his chance to move ahead of Love by missing a birdie putt on the 18th

In form: The Ryder Cup captain performed well on the penultimate day

In form: The USA Ryder Cup captain (right) and Furyk (left) performed well on the penultimate day

Arsenal would be perfect for Pep Guardiola, says former Barca defender Rafael Marquez

Arsenal would be perfect for Guardiola, says former Barca defender Marquez

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UPDATED:

06:23 GMT, 10 October 2012

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is heading to the Premier League, and Arsenal is the 'perfect' job.

That is the view of former Barca
defender Rafael Marquez, who has spoken to Guardiola 'a few times' during his year-long sabbatical in New York, where the Mexican currently plays
for the Red Bulls.

Time out: Pep Guardiola with Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup

Time out: Pep Guardiola with Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup in Chicago

The 41-year-old Spaniard has also been earmarked for Manchester United and Chelsea but Marquez is convinced that he will be at the Emirates next term.

Wenger was vague on his own future when questioned recently, with the 62-year-old's contract due to expire in 2014.

The Frenchman has faced a difficult time in north London over the past few seasons, with the Gunners struggling to challenge for major honours and having sold a number of their star players.

'[Guardiola] will soon return to the game. I think he'll go to England. He'd be perfect for Arsenal,' Marquez told Spanish radio.

Branden Grace extends lead at Dunhill Links Championship

In-form Grace misses out on record but extends lead at Dunhill Links

PUBLISHED:

17:58 GMT, 5 October 2012

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UPDATED:

17:58 GMT, 5 October 2012

Branden Grace holds the biggest
halfway lead of the European Tour season after a second-round 67 in the
Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

Having begun the 3million
pro-celebrity event with an incredible Tour record-equalling 60 at
Kingsbarns, the 24-year-old South African marched five strokes clear by
reaching 17 under par at halfway.

Centre of attention: Branden Grace of South Africa

Centre of attention: Branden Grace of South Africa

When he putted for eagle on the 357-yard last Grace had a chance to match the circuit's lowest-ever 36-hole total in relation to par, but he happily settled for a two-putt birdie and so the mark set by compatriot Ernie Els at the 2004 Heineken Classic in Australia still stands.

'I just don't really knows what's going on,' said the Pretoria golfer, who was outside the world's top 300 less than a year ago, came through the Tour qualifying school and now has a chance of an incredible fifth victory of the season.

The fourth came last Sunday in his home country's winter series and was slightly overshadowed, of course, by Europe's miraculous Ryder Cup comeback.

'A win is a win,' he added. 'It gives you confidence and puts a fire in you. I'm still just running with it.'

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Swede Joel Sjoholm are in joint second place and you have to look a long way way down the leaderboard to find many of the big names.

Holding on: Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer

Holding on: Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer

German Martin Kaymer, the man who sank the all-important putt for Jose Maria Olazabal's side in Chicago, is doing best of the three returning heroes, but he is down in 56th place on three under – 14 strokes adrift.

Swede Peter Hanson is one further back, but Paul Lawrie is joint 129th on one over – and only the top 60 and ties survive the cut after tomorrow's third round.

The one thing in their favour is that they still have St Andrews to play whereas Grace has Carnoustie to come and that is by far the stiffest test of the three.

Also in a fight to stay around for Sunday's closing 18 holes at St Andrews are Open champion Ernie Els on one under, twice winner Padraig Harrington on level par and last year's Open winner Darren Clarke, who is alongside Lawrie.

The Scot is playing with his 17-year-old son Craig and did not mind admitting that the scratch-handicapper outscored him in the second round, albeit off forward tees.

'He played lovely and was four under on his own ball – I'm very proud of him,' said the 1999 Open champion, who had to be content with a two under 70 himself.

Here boy: Paul Casey tries to get the dog to drop his ball on the green

Here boy: Paul Casey tries to get the dog to drop his ball on the green

Paul Casey is another on three under, but the former world number three will remember the day for two unusual incidents – a dog running off with his ball and swimming star Michael Phelps holing a 50-yard putt.

Casey was on the green in two at Kingsbarns' long 12th – his third – when the dog took the ball 'off up the hill toward the 13th tee'.

He added: 'I had that moment of panic where I thought I'd have to play it where Digby – he had his name on his collar – left it, but we placed it back as close as we could to where we thought it originally was.'

Grace had no such dramas, but was glad the format allowed him to switch courses following his 60.

'It would have been a hard situation if I had to play Kingsbarns again after shooting lights out. Getting to St Andrews I didn't know what to expect.

'I struggling a bit in the beginning, but then my putter started getting hot again.'

He had four successive birdies around the turn.

Sjoholm matched the round, while over at Carnoustie Olesen had six birdies and three bogeys for a 69.

Leading British player is Graeme Storm, round in 66 at the Home of Golf to reach 10 under and joint fifth place.

German Martin Kaymer, the man who sank the all-important putt for Jose Maria Olazabal's side in Chicago, is doing best of the three returning heroes, but he is down in 56th place on three under – 14 strokes adrift.

Swede Peter Hanson is one further back, but Paul Lawrie is joint 129th on one over – and only the top 60 and ties survive the cut after tomorrow's third round.

The one thing in their favour is that they still have St Andrews to play whereas Grace has Carnoustie to come and that is by far the stiffest test of the three.

Also in a fight to stay around for Sunday's closing 18 holes at St Andrews are Open champion Ernie Els on one under, twice winner Padraig Harrington on level par and last year's Open winner Darren Clarke, who is alongside Lawrie.

The Scot is playing with his 17-year-old son Craig and did not mind admitting that the scratch-handicapper outscored him in the second round, albeit off forward tees.

'He played lovely and was four under on his own ball – I'm very proud of him,' said the 1999 Open champion, who had to be content with a two under 70 himself.

Paul Casey is another on three under, but the former world number three will remember the day for two unusual incidents – a dog running off with his ball and swimming star Michael Phelps holing a 50-yard putt.

Casey was on the green in two at Kingsbarns' long 12th – his third – when the dog took the ball 'off up the hill toward the 13th tee'.

He added: 'I had that moment of panic where I thought I'd have to play it where Digby – he had his name on his collar – left it, but we placed it back as close as we could to where we thought it originally was.'

Grace had no such dramas, but was glad the format allowed him to switch courses following his 60.

'It would have been a hard situation if I had to play Kingsbarns again after shooting lights out. Getting to St Andrews I didn't know what to expect.

'I struggling a bit in the beginning, but then my putter started getting hot again.'

He had four successive birdies around the turn.

Sjoholm matched the round, while over at Carnoustie Olesen had six birdies and three bogeys for a 69.

Leading British player is Graeme Storm, round in 66 at the Home of Golf to reach 10 under and joint fifth place.