Date: May 02, 2009
Author: PA Sport and Sportal

Levet has leverage in Spain

Frenchman Thomas Levet holds a two-stroke lead over Dane Soren Hansen at the halfway point of the Spanish Open at PGA Catalunya. Levet is atop the leaderboard on 13-under thanks to a second-round 67 while Hansen double-bogeyed the last for a 70 – seven worse than his course record-breaking opening round – to be at 11-under. Irishman Peter Lawrie is a stroke further back in third on 10-under. Levet, Hansen and Lawrie had things much calmer before lunch and were never likely to be dislodged from the top three spots. But Levet was soon off for treatment on a back problem he blames on doing television commentary at The Masters last month. “It&aposs since working with you guys,” the former Ryder Cup player told reporters. “I&aposm not a sitting person – I&aposm a standing person.” “I spent hours in a chair and it started getting stiff. There were also two long flights and it&aposs been bad for three weeks.” Hansen, the only member of last year&aposs Ryder Cup team who has not qualified for next week&aposs Players Championship in Florida, refused to blame his late slip on his group being timed for possible slow play. “We were a long way behind, but you have to try to rush between shots and not let it affect it when you are over the ball,” said the Copenhagen golfer. While annoyed to finish as he did – he went from rough to bunker and then three-putted the 478-yard 9th – Hansen could draw huge confidence from the fact that after starting the tournament with a double bogey he played the next 34 holes in 15 under. And of just four eagles on the 527-yard 12th so far he has had two of them. Meanwhile, Lawrie is aiming to make the first successful defence of the Spanish Open since Max Faulkner way back in 1953. The 35-year-old, who burst into third place with six birdies in eight holes, is not best pleased about a lack of recognition this week. Lawrie said after his 66: “There&aposs not one picture of me anywhere.” “I thought I would at least deserve something – it&aposs disappointing and a little bit of motivation.” “Somebody said yesterday about me being the ex-Spanish Open champion. I said &aposNo, I am the current Spanish Open champion.” “I just have to try to play well and let the scores make the point.” Joint fourth on eight-under, five behind Levet, are England&aposs Chris Wood, the 21-year-old who finished fifth in The Open as an amateur last July, and Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, whose Ryder Cup father Jose Maria never won his national crown. And although the pre-event publicity was dominated by John Daly&aposs golfing comeback after four months out and Colin Montgomerie&aposs late decision to play, the Scotsman is already out of the event after crashing to an 81 in the much windier afternoon conditions and Daly – still serving a six-month US Tour ban imposed after he was thrown in jail to sober up last October – is deep in the pack on two-under. Montgomerie&aposs round matched the worst of the day and at nine-over he missed the cut by nine shots. Matthew Millar was the only Australian out of six to make the cut and he is on even par in equal 59th position – 13 shots off the lead. Second Round of the Open de Espana -13: Thomas Levet 64 67 -11: Soren Hansen 63 70 -10: Peter Lawrie 68 66 -8: Alejandro Canizares 67 69, Chris Wood 66 70 -7: Thomas Bjorn 70 67, Rafael Cabrera-Bello 70 67, Stuart Davis 72 65, Paul McGinley 70 67, Marcel Siem 67 70 -6: Stephen Dodd 69 69, Jose Manuel Lara 65 73 -5: Paul Broadhurst 70 69, Christian Cevaer 72 67, Jean-Francois Lucquin 68 71, Francesco Molinari 69 70 Also: E: Matthew Millar (Australia) 69 75 +3: Michael Curtain (Australia) 70 77, Wade Ormsby (Australia) 72 75, Andrew Tampion (Australia) 70 77 +4: Scott Barr (Australia) 68 80, Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 75 73, Kane Webber (Australia) 70 78