Friday, October 05, 2007



Australia’s Peter O’Malley shot a brilliant second round 64 to equal the course record at Carnoustie and lift himself into the joint lead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on 11-under-par, along with England’s Nick Dougherty and South Africa’s Hennie Otto.
All three will be looking over their shoulders at the immense figure of South Africa’s World No 5, Ernie Els, who shot a second successive 67 to be just one shot behind.
But for an unlucky break at the 18th on the Old Course, St Andrews, where his approach shot rolled back into the Valley of Sin to leave him with just a par, Ernie could have been joint leader.
Els, who is tied on 10-under-par with Argentina’s Rafael Echenique, Spain’s Gonza Fernandez-Castano, England’s Kenneth Ferrie and South Africa’s Anton Haig, said:
“I’ve got to be satisfied with 67. I missed a couple of putts here and there, but with the weather conditions as perfect as it was today, you know you want to shoot something low.”
The tournament, conceived as a celebration of links golf, is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.
O’Malley’s tour de force at Carnoustie included nine birdies with just one dropped shot at the par-3 16th. But he very nearly arrived at the course without any clubs. He said: “I picked up Steve my caddie and I was coming through Dundee and I heard something rattling in the boot of the car. As soon as I heard it, I knew I hadn’t put the clubs in the car. I rang the lady at the guest house we’re staying in and she met me at Leuchars railway station with the clubs. “My day really started yesterday. I was level par with four holes to play and I had three birdies on the last four holes. I managed to carry that momentum into today. I have played in all the Dunhill championships and it’s a lot of fun. If you get two good amateurs and a nice pro like Gregory Havret, you can have a great time out there.”
The highlight of the round from Nick Dougherty’s 66 at Carnoustie was an eagle 3 at the par five 14th, plus four birdies. He said: “I played solidly today. A 66 is a nice score round any course, but round Carnoustie it’s a great score. I am playing really well at the moment but I am just going to go out there and try to enjoy it. I have tried so hard to win this year that I am now at the stage of thinking – just go out and have a good time.”
South Africa’s Hennie Otto, starting at the 10th on the Old Course, began in style with three birdies, then added two more at the 5th and 6th in a mistake-free round of 67. He said: “It was exactly the same today as yesterday. I played extremely well and just concentrated on keeping things going. What pleased me most was that it was a bogey free round. I think the only other time I’ve not had a bogey in a round on the Old Course was when I was an amateur so for that reason this must go down as one of the best I have ever played there.
“Last night after my first round I had some nice messages from home especially from my wife Liezel and a couple of other good mates. Obviously people are watching what I am doing.”
First round leader Steve Webster had a 70 at St Andrews to finish two behind the leaders, along with India’s Jeev Milkha Singh (68 at St Andrews) and France’s Tomas Levet (65 at Kingsbarns).
Open champion Padraig Harrington, who is bidding for a third Dunhill title after winning in 2002 and 2006, lifted himself up the leader board with a 66 on the Old Course to leave himself just three off the lead.
At the end of the second round there was a two way tie on 18-under-par for the Team Championship between South African pair Anton Haig & Schalk Burger and Scott Strange & Robert Coe from Australia. Schalk Burger, father of Springbok flanker Schalk Burger, could be left with a dilemma if he makes the cut and plays on Sunday, which is the day his son will be playing against Fiji in the Rugby World Cup.
“I woke up this morning with one of my mates phoning me after reading the South African newspapers which had the headline – ‘Schalk Senior’s Dilemma’. But no, if I make the cut I’ll stay. I think he’ll understand.
"It’s just the quarter-finals, and we’ve still got the semi-finals and the final to go. I think my wife would rather watch him, so I’ll let her go and I’ll stay here,” said Burger.
Robert Coe, 22, in his last year at Sydney University, is only playing because his father David broke his left hand eight weeks ago. He said: “Having the opportunity to come here and play because of my dad’s accident is great. Scott is great to play with. His 66 at Carnoustie yesterday was unbelievable. I hardly contributed. But today I came in on five holes.”
The match was watched by David Coe who said: “I’m enjoying it much more than playing.” Among the pairs in a tie one shot behind are Ernie Els and his father Neels. Ernie said: “My dad’s been awesome. He made a birdie on the fourth hole, and a birdie for a nett eagle. And he made some pars and stuff when it looked like I was screwing up.
"You know it just doesn’t get better than this, playing with your dad at St Andrews on a day like today. It’s unbelievable. We’ve never won, but there was one year when we were very close. We’ve made it through to Sunday every time.”
Also on 17-under-par are England’s Justin Rose and financial planning company executive Steve Hand. Hand said: “I met Justin about two years ago at a pro-am. He was just a great guy and was so nice to my son that I ended up sponsoring him. I call him a couple of times a week when he’s playing and motivate him with crazy messages on his cell phone. Anything to keep him smiling. I got to watch him at the Masters this year and it was fantastic.”
American rock star Huey Lewis is playing in the Dunhill for the first time and finished his second round on seven-under-par with his partner, Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo. He said: “I’m really having a fun time, playing with Nick and Colin Montgomerie. Just watching them play is really great. I’ve been playing for around 20 years and I play a lot, which is a bit embarrassing because when you play as much as I have you should be very good, but I’m not.
"The important part for amateurs to remember is we’re here for a good time. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your game that you forget to notice the course and the surroundings and the wonderful professionals.”
Tico Torres, drummer of rock band Bon Jovi, enjoyed his day with South African professional Trevor Immelman despite hurting his back on Wednesday evening. After completing his second round at St Andrews for a team score of eight-under-par, he said: “I have three discs in my back which just go every once in a while. I’m getting some work done on it so hopefully it won’t hamper me too much.
"Trevor’s a great guy. I’ve played with him before and it’s a pleasure to watch him and the other professionals play. It’s a treat to be course side with some of the world’s top players.”
To access the live scoring for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, please direct your web browser to: and click on the Live Scoring link at the bottom of the page.


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