Rookies battle Clark for Durban title


Golf round-up:Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen and England’s Chris Lloyd both have a chance on Sunday to win on the European Tour less than two weeks after coming through the qualifying school.

After two washed-out days at Royal Durban in South Africa the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship was cut to 36 holes and began on a course reduced to a par 65 because of the saturated fairways.

Madsen birdied three of his last five holes for a 60 and shares the lead with local hope Tim Clark, while 20-year-old Lloyd is only one behind along with another of the home contingent, Lindani Ndwandwe.

Former Players Championship winner Clark set the target earlier in the day and said: “It wasn’t that easy out there, but I was amazed at how good the greens were with all the rain they had.

“I made some good putts and obviously gave myself a lot of chances. If it is going to be a two round tournament you’ve got to go low. Normally you can sort of pace yourself, but right now you’ve got to be aggressive.

“I was hitting a lot of drivers. I was certainly not trying to play it safe. We obviously can’t tell what the future holds, but I do hope we get to play some more golf.”

After the disruption on Thursday and Friday the objective is to get 36 holes played by Sunday evening, but if there are any more delays and it is possible to finish the second round on Monday then that will be done.

Clark’s card included three successive birdie twos on the back nine. That was because the 13th and 14th were among four holes made into par threes because of the conditions.

English pair David Horsey and Matthew Southgate were among those who came in with 62s to be in joint fifth place.

Damien McGrane and Peter Lawrie are both well down the field after they both carded one-over-par 66s.

Australia Open:Justin Rose will head into the final round two strokes off the lead after a late stumble cost him a share of the overnight lead at The Lakes in Sydney.

Rose had held a two-shot advantage in the afternoon but spoiled his round with consecutive bogeys on the final two holes to finish the day on five under overall.

Despite that the world number four remains firmly in contention to end 2012 on a high with his third-round two-under-par 70 leaving him in second place behind local hopeful John Senden.

It is the second consecutive year Senden has held the 54-hole lead at the tournament and Rose is expecting a tough battle when they are paired tomorrow with high winds expected.

“I hear the wind’s going to switch and blow just as hard,” Rose said. “Whoever literally stands up could win the golf tournament, it could be last man standing.

“I think it’s going to be a battle, but I’m excited, as long as it doesn’t get out of control and blow too hard, it’s going to be a fun day to try and hit some shots.

“It’s going to be my last round of the year and I’d like to go out on a high note.”

Senden, who had led after the opening round, had to withstand a shaky start today as he bogeyed his opening two holes to fall behind a cluster of seven players who briefly held the lead.

But the 2006 Stonehaven Cup winner made his charge on the back nine, producing an eagle on the par-five 11th and adding consecutive birdies from the 13th to card a two-under 70 and sit at seven under overall.

“It was a day of just trying to do my best to stay up there and it’s nice to be leading the golf tournament,” Senden said.

“I thought the last two holes were pretty much close to the edge, it was so windy out there it was hard to hit the ball straight.”

Matt Jones (69), Peter Senior (69) and Kieran Pratt (70) are level in third place a shot behind Rose.

Champion in 2001, Stuart Appleby and his American playing partner Kyle Stanley both posted two-under 70s to be three under for the tournament alongside Cameron Percy (72).

Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott is a shot further back among a group of nine players in a share of ninth after posting his second straight 71.

Women’s Omega Dubai Masters:Ladies European Tour: Spain’s Carlota Ciganda became the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to win both the Ladies European Tour money list and the Rookie of the Year title in the same season.

The 22-year-old from Pamplona secured top spot with a 10th place finish in Dubai.

China’s world number six Shanshan Feng won the event by a runaway five-stroke margin from Dutch player Dewi Claire Schreefel, herself four clear of third-placed pair Becky Brewerton and Caroline Masson.

Feng, who at the LPGA Championship in June became the first Chinese golfer male or female to win a Major, shot a closing 69 for a tournament record 21-under-par total of 267.

With Ciganda climbing through the field with a 68 Masson had to finish joint second to deny her the Order of Merit crown, but a triple bogey on the 12th and bogey at the 17th left her too much to do.

Welsh Solheim Cup player Brewerton finished with a 65 to tie with Masson on 12 under.

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