Grant in hunt at Q-School
FORMER Shamrock Rovers striker Stephen Grant made a solid start to his bid to gain a European Tour card yesterday with a two-under-par 70 at the Fleesensee course near Berlin.
The 34-year-old Birr native, who turned professional three years ago and competed on the Hooters Tour in the States, is in joint 15th after the first round of stage one of the Qualifying School. Former amateur international Cian Curley (Newlands) and Athenry's Shane Franklin both hit 72.
Setting the pace is German Benjamin Wuttke with a 66, one ahead of Tomek Dogel and Matthias Johansson.
Damian Mooney was the best-placed Irishman at Wychwoods Park in Cheshire but he was in joint 29th with a 72 and has a lot of work to do. Matt McAlpine went round in 73 and is 45th. Chris Hughes hit 76 and Andrew Hogan 78.
Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich has criticised suggestions from Andy Murray that players could strike over what they consider to be an overcrowded schedule.
"I didn't complain -- and I played in tournament singles and doubles," said the 1991 champion.
"I don't think it is a big issue. They are not playing more than we did 10 or 15 years ago and they have shorter seasons.
"Perhaps they need to look out for their bodies and pick their tournaments better."
Paula Radcliffe's time of 2:15:25 set in the 2003 London Marathon will no longer be classed as a world record for the distance after the IAAF changed the criteria.
The changes specify that only times achieved in all-women competitions will be acknowledged. Performances achieved in mixed conditions will now be referred to only as "world best".
This means that Radcliffe's '03 mark is no longer the world record, as she ran it in a mixed race, following male pacemakers. The 37-year-old's London time of 2:17:42 from '05 is now the world record.