Monday 18 December 2017

Ferrie steams into contention

An astonishing European Tour record-equalling round of 60 has put England's Kenneth Ferrie just one behind Scotland's Paul Lawrie with a day to go at the Andalucian Open in Malaga.

After making the halfway cut with nothing to spare, the 32-year-old from Northumberland was only a few inches away from achieving the magical 59 achieved five times on the PGA Tour in the United States, but never in Europe.

After an eagle and seven birdies in the first 17 holes of the par-70 Parador course, Ferrie needed to hole his six-iron approach to the 449-yard last and from the right-hand rough it trickled past the edge of the cup.

When he tapped in for another birdie he had charged from joint 45th overnight into a three-shot lead with a 10-under-par round, but 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie then shot a bogey-free 65 to take over at the top on 12-under.

That owed a lot, however, to a man in the crowd.

Lawrie, without a win since 2002, was heading for big trouble at the short 13th when his pulled tee shot struck a spectator on the back and rebounded onto the green.

Ferrie, who is tied for second with compatriot Mark Foster, wore a Superman belt when he led the 2006 US Open after three rounds, but this is the nearest he has ever come to playing like him.

He becomes only the 14th player to shoot 60 on the Tour without the help of preferred lies since Italian Baldovino Dassu was the first to do it 40 years ago.

The former European Open winner described himself as "ecstatic" about the round, but was at pains to say there was nothing extraordinary about it. "It was unspectacular, but it added up to a spectacular score," he commented.

"You'd expect somebody with such a low score to have holed putts and hit spectacular shots, but it was just a very steady round -- lots of fairways, lots of greens and a lot of wedge shots to four or five feet."

Paul McGinley carded a 66 to lie on five under, seven shots behind Lawrie.

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