Date: May 03, 2008

Garrido sets record in Seville

Not many golfers hug their caddie halfway through an event, but for former Ryder Cup star Ignacio Garrido it was perfectly understandable on Friday. “Probably the best I&aposve ever played – this is a dream,” said Garrido after following up a first round 66 with a course record 63 to lead the Spanish Open in Seville by four shots. “I think for any player the most important tournament after the majors is your own national championship.” Now he has a golden opportunity to join a list of winners that includes his father Antonio who claimed the title just 19 days after Ignacio was born in 1972. Australian Peter Fowler, who started the second day on the 10th tee, is on eight under and in a tie for third spot at the halfway mark of the tournament after he shot a six-under-par round of 66 which comprised of seven birdies and a bogey on the 6th hole. Despite being equal third, Fowler still trails Garrido (15 under) by a whopping seven strokes. Only five weeks away from his 49th birthday, Fowler has a chance to take over from Ireland&aposs Des Smyth as the circuit&aposs oldest champion in this his 493rd event. But only Martin Kaymer in Abu Dhabi in January has held a bigger 36-hole advantage than Garrido on Tour this season. Swede Martin Erlandsson lies second on 11 under while last week&aposs winner Darren Clarke is 12 behind on three under, Colin Montgomerie only just survived the cut on one under and former Open champion John Daly crashed out at one over. Amazingly, 36-year-old Garrido had missed the cut on six of his previous seven starts this season and he has been very much a fringe figure since beating current Masters champion Trevor Immelman in a play-off for the European Tour&aposs flagship PGA Championship in 2003. The five-year Tour exemption that Wentworth triumph earned him runs out at the end of this season. He is 125th on the money list and only the top 115 keep their cards, but total happiness is just two rounds away. “I thought I could not play any better than yesterday, but obviously I could,” he added after his nine-birdie display. Only once in his Tour career has he scored lower. “We play a very tough sport. It can go fantastic and next day you don&apost know what you are doing, but despite my recent results I knew the game was there.” Garrido, second to Seve Ballesteros in 1995 after being the joint halfway leader and a runner-up again to Jarmo Sandelin nine years ago, was seven clear of the field when he signed his card at lunchtime. First round leader Erlandsson was among the later starters, though, and he added a 68 to his 65. Clarke improved three shots on his opening 72, but said: “I&aposm making too many mistakes,” while Montgomerie did not stop to speak at all after two bogeys in his last four holes. Daly, also playing next week&aposs Italian Open, had three birdies and then an eagle in his last eight holes, but that came after he had slumped to five over and it was too little, too late. South African Charl Schwartzel, hoping to become the first player since Max Faulkner in 1953 to make a successful defence, also bowed out. Four players – England&aposs David Lynn, Spaniard Carlos Rodiles, Paraguayan Marco Ruiz and Fowler – are tied for third. Matthew Millar is the next-best Australian with a score of two under after two rounds. Second Round of the Open de Espana (Par 72): -15: Ignacio Garrido (Spain) 66 63 -11: Martin Erlandsson 65 68 -8: Peter Fowler (Australia) 70 66, David Lynn 70 66, Carlos Rodiles 68 68, Marco Ruiz 70 66 -7: Mark Foster 70 67, Miguel Angel Jiminez 70 67, Jose Manuel Lara 71 66, Andrew McLardy 72 65, Henrik Nystrom 68 69, Anthony Wall 71 66 -6: Alfredo Garcia-Heredia 69 69, Soren Hansen 68 70, Peter Lawrie 68 70, Alexander Noren 74 64, Steven O Hara 68 70, Hennie Otto 72 66 Also: -2: Matthew Millar (Australia) 70 72, Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) E: Steve Alker (New Zealand) 76 68 +2: Scott Barr (Australia) 72 74 +12: Terry Pilkadaris (Australia) 77 79