Mouland snatches Gleneagles lead

Welshman heads Scots-based Englishman

Golfmagic correspondent
Fri, 24 Aug 2001

Veteran Welshman Mark Mouland held on to a one-stroke lead when the Gleneagles Scottish PGA resumed this morning (Friday).

Early fog yesterday held up play when Mouland had the lead on seven under par at the 14th as darkness fell.

But he delivered four pars to his overnight score for a seven under par 65 to lead the tournament, which carries a £106,000 first prize as well as vital Ryder Cup points.

Mouland, who celebrated his 40th birthday in April and lives in Kenilworth in the West Midlands, has been on Tour since 1982 but had to return to qualifying school for the fifth time last year to retain his playing privileges.

If he hadn't kept his card with a high finish at the Smurfit European Open in July, he was considering taking up a teaching post and writing his memoirs.

Sixty-six players were unable to finish their opening rounds but completed them this morning. Gary Evans birdied two of the last four holes to join Lomas on six under par.

"I wish I could have carried on last night," said Mouland. "I had the chance to birdie one of the two par-5s but it didn't happen this morning.

"I missed the cut in the last three tournaments and had to withdraw from the Wales Open with an infection in an impacted wisdom tooth. "I took a week off last week, just took it easy and didn't practice much so I'm delighted with this.

"I've been maybe a bit too aggressive after finishing fifth in Ireland, expecting a bit much and it wasn't happening and the result was those missed cuts."

  For Lomas, that rarest of birds – an albatross two – helped him into the clubhouse lead at the end of a disrupted first day.

The 33 year old Englishman, who lives in Scotland, was in the first group due out on the PGA Centenary Course at 7.30am but dense fog around the Perthshire course put paid to play for three and a half hours.

When it did get underway, Lomas wasted no time in forging his way into contention and leap-frogged to the head of the field when he holed his 4-wood second shot from 234 yards at the 503 yard 12th on the jack-Nicklaus designed Monarch course.

It was the fourth albatross two on the 2001 European Tour and when Lomas followed it with six straight pars to finish, it gave him a six under par 66 and a one shot lead over Warren Bennett, Stephen Gallacher and Justin Rose.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had an albatross and although the marshals around the green were signalling something had happened, I couldn’t quite believe it had gone in – I’d have happily taken a birdie,” he said.

Away from the excitement of the 12th, the winner of the 1996 Chemapol Trophy Czech Open was flawless. His only departures from par coming at the second, fifth and eighth holes where he rolled in putts for birdies.

The fact Lomas succeeded in getting his blade to behave pleased him most for it had been on the greens that he has been struggling.

“This year I’ve played some of my best golf tee to green, but I’ve just not holed many putts,” said Lomas, who attributed his upturn in putting fortune to the fact he had returned to conventional methods.

“I tried my left hand under right for most of the season. At first it was okay, the stroke was nice and smooth, but I just couldn’t hit it on the line I was choosing. So I changed back and I seem to be hitting on the line I’m choosing now, which is more enjoyable.”

One shot behind were playing partners Justin Rose and Warren Bennett, who both included eagle threes in their respective 67s, Rose’s coming at the 12th hole, his third of the day, while Bennett’s came at the ninth, his final hole of the day.



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