Langer shrugs off jet lag to conjure old magic
AS European legend Bernhard Langer conjured up that old Masters magic at Turnberry yesterday, a star of the future, Thorbjorn Olesen, produced some sorcery of his own on the opposite end of the continent.
At 54, Langer found it tough to recover from Monday's nightmare 27-hour trip from Florida to the British Senior Open on Scotland's west coast. Yet there was no hint of jet lag or the passing years in the German's performance during his first-round 64 on a sun-dappled day.
Olesen (22), after an impressive ninth place at Lytham last Sunday in only his second Major, underlined his potential by racing three clear of the field on 12-under as electrical storms and heavy rain interrupted the second round of the Lyoness Open in Austria.
After returning to the Diamond Country Club early yesterday morning to complete the weather-delayed final four holes of his superlative first-round 64, the Dane followed up with an impressive 68 to lead French veteran Thomas Levet by three in the clubhouse before lightning forced play to a halt once again.
Having romped to his first European Tour victory in Sicily this spring, Olesen further boosted his self-assurance at the Open. "I took a lot of confidence from how I played and how I handled the pressure," he said.
Ireland's standard-bearer in Austria was Waterville's David Higgins (39) who was in a tie for seventh on six-under after adding a steady 71 to the first-round 67 he completed early yesterday morning.
Shane Lowry was three-under after playing the first nine holes of his second round in one-under, while Damien McGrane was tied-47th on even par. Simon Thornton was two outside the projected cut mark with seven holes left in his second round, while Rathmore's Alan Dunbar was two further back with 10 to play. Mark Murphy from Kerry and Ballymena's Chris Devlin missed the cut.
A supreme Langer carved up Turnberry and led Irish passport-holder Mark McNulty by one after a faultless, five-under 65 by the Zimbabwe native. A sensational eagle-birdie finish to his first-round 66 lifted Michael Allen into a five-way tie for third.
Ireland's Philip Walton (73), Des Smyth (75), Eamonn Darcy (76) and Denis O'Sullivan (76) failed to make hay while the sun shone.
Meanwhile, Greg Owen rebounded from a nightmare start to compile one of the most astounding rounds of the 2012 PGA Tour season. The Englishman opened his account at the Canadian Open with a double-bogey at 10, followed by a bogey at 11 but still grabbed the clubhouse lead with a stunning 63 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, carding an eagle three and eight birdies.
• Former Shamrock Rovers winger Stephen Grant shared seventh place on three-under, four shy of Welshman Stuart Manley's lead after his first-round 69 at The English Challenge at Stoke-by-Nayland. Colm Moriarty opened with 70 and Tim Rice shot 74.
• America's Stacy Lewis (27) took command on day one of the $3.5m Evian Masters in France yesterday with a nine-under-par 63.
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