Date: July 12, 2008

Green gunning for lead

Richard Green has moved to within two shots of the lead at the halfway point of the Barclays Scottish Open. The Australian shot a three-under-par second round of 68 to move to seven-under overall and within striking distance of pace-setter Angel Cabrera (nine-under). After starting the day in a tie for seventh spot, Green had a dream front nine which included five birdies. But the Aussie lost ground in the last seven holes, registering four bogeys that were tempered by a further two birdies. Green&aposs compatriot Matthew Millar rocketed up the leaderboard to be equal eighth on six-under overall thanks to a blistering 64 after starting the day one-over in a share of 98th spot. World No.3 Adam Scott also recovered from his horror one-over-par first round to record a five-under 66 in the second and be four-under overall in equal 28th position. Meanwhile, Thomas Bjorn conquered the dreaded &aposyips&apos to move into contention along with Green – and keep his hopes of qualifying for the Open Championship alive. Bjorn has played every Open since his debut in 1996, finishing joint second behind Tiger Woods at St Andrews four years later and then losing a three-shot lead with four to play to be a runner-up again at Sandwich in 2003. The Dane has recently been struggling with poor form and a serious shoulder injury, slumping to 182nd in the world rankings and needs to finish in the top five at Loch Lomond on Sunday (UK time) to qualify for Royal Birkdale. And the 37-year-old is in with a chance after switching to a long putter got rid of the &aposyips&apos and helped him to rounds of 67 and 68 for a seven-under-par total of 135, two shots behind leader Cabrera. Asked about the yips – an involuntary jerking movement causing players to miss short putts under pressure – Bjorn said: “There&aposs no doubt that&aposs what it was.” “It starts as a sensation and the people around you, caddies and coaches, couldn&apost see it in the beginning. In the end it became obvious to them as well.” “I couldn&apost get the ball to the hole from two feet away six weeks ago, and now I&aposm holing putts again. I had a long chat with Bernhard Langer (who conquered the yips more than once), felt the long putter was an option and took it from there.” “The great thing with the long putter is, no matter how much you have those feelings, the hands do something different than you feel. I&aposve never really been a big fan of the long putter but now I think it should be allowed.” Bjorn pulled out of the 36-hole Open qualifier at Sunningdale on June 30 with his shoulder problem, revealing he does not dare risk an operation which could end his career. And much as he would love to play at Birkdale next week, he is refusing to get carried away by two good rounds. “There&aposs a long way to go to the top five at the moment,” he added. “I&aposm happy with what I&aposve done these two days and I&aposve just got to try to do more of the same. But it&aposs tough when you&aposve got a quality field and you are not 100 percent confident in everything that you do.” “I just want to try to find some form. I&aposm very well aware of where I am in the world rankings and you&aposve got to accept that&aposs where you are, and that&aposs the kind of golfer you are now.” “If you are about 200th in the world you have to try to enjoy this weekend and not look at what you did in 1996, &apos98 or 2000.” “Whatever happens this weekend happens, it&aposs not about the Open Championship for me. If I ever get my form back to where it was then I&aposll be playing lots of major championships.” “But at the moment my game is not good enough to compete in majors, that&aposs for sure.” Cabrera added a 68 to his opening 65 to finish nine-under-par, one ahead of Ireland&aposs Damien McGrane. The Argentinean, who won the US Open last year, dropped a shot on the 18th and said: “The end was a bit of a shame but it was a good round and I feel I&aposm in a good position going ahead to tomorrow.” “I&aposm very comfortable with the greens.” While Colin Montgomerie missed the cut for the second year in succession after a 75, star attraction Phil Mickelson made it to the weekend in spectacular fashion. After 13 holes of his second round, Mickelson, the world No.2 and runner-up last year, was level par and outside the predicted cut mark. But the American then fired a hole-in-one on the fifth, his 14th hole, and also picked up two more birdies to card a 67 and finish four-under-par. “It kick-started my round, I was not doing much at that point,” admitted the 38-year-old, whose five iron from 198 yards pitched around 10 feet short of the hole and rolled in at perfect speed. “I was probably right on the edge of the cut but it gave me some momentum and I birdied two more holes.” “It went over the ridge in the green so I couldn&apost see it go in but all of a sudden everybody behind the green jumped up and it was great to see that.” “I was struggling to get the ball in the hole so I guess I needed to hole it from off the green.” World No.6 Ernie Els also finished four-under after adding a 66 to his opening 72. Els, twice a winner here and third last year, said: “I had a very nice one going today and did not finish very well, five-under with a couple of blemishes.” “The course is there to be taken and I will need to shoot the lights out tomorrow to have any chance.” Second Round of the Scottish Open (Par 71): -9: Angel Cabrera 65 68 -8: Damien McGrane 68 66 -7: Thomas Bjorn 67 68, Richard Green (Australia) 67 68, Simon Khan 69 66, Thongchai Jaidee 64 71, Paul Lawrie 68 67 -6: Robert Dinwiddie 68 68, David Lynn 69 67, Matthew Millar (Australia) 72 64, Jeev Milkha Singh 68 68, Henrik Stenson 67 69, Lee Westwood 67 69 -5: Fredrik Andersson Hed 70 67, John Bickerton 66 71, Christian Cevaer 70 67, Martin Erlandsson 67 70, Oliver Fisher 68 69, Ross Fisher 68 69, Garry Houston 66 71, Miguel Angel Jimenez 68 69, Maarten Lafeber 67 70, Jean-Francois Lucquin 72 65, Graeme McDowell 67 70, Francesco Molinari 69 68, Alexander Noren 64 73, Oliver Wilson 71 66 Also: -4: Adam Scott (Australia) 72 66, Scott Strange (Australia) 70 68 -3: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 73 66 -1: Peter O Malley (Australia) 73 68, Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 70 71 +1: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 69 74 +4: Peter Fowler (Australia) 70 76, Marcus Fraser (Australia) 74 72