Date: September 04, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Rumford takes European lead

Australian Brett Rumford put a sickening incident out of his mind to take the first-round lead at the Omega European Masters – the first qualifying event for Europe&aposs Ryder Cup side – in Switzerland. Rumford, winner of the title in 2007, hit a spectator just above the eye with his opening drive. While she was taken away for treatment with blood streaming down her face, the 32-year-old from Perth, who was told about the incident and anxious to find out about the spectator&aposs condition, dropped shots on the fourth and fifth holes. But then came a remarkable turnaround. Rumford played the remaining 13 holes in 11-under-par, with an eagle two on the driveable seventh, birdies at the sixth and ninth and then an inward 28 containing seven more birdies. His 62 would have equalled the Crans-sur-Sierre course record but for the fact that placing of the ball was allowed on the wet fairways. “I got off to a shaky start in more ways than one,” said Rumford, who leads by one from England&aposs Simon Dyson, winner of the KLM Open in Holland two weeks ago. “It was not nice. You feel really bad for the lady, but there&aposs really nothing you can do.” “I&aposve not spoken to her yet and I didn&apost even see her at the time. It was her eyebrow I&aposm told – if it had been her temple a couple of inches away it could have been really bad.” As for what followed, he added: “I&aposve no idea where that came off. When I won here I played great golf, but today I just got my putter running.” Dyson was delighted at waiting only 11 days to repeat the closing 63 which led to his second Dutch Open victory in four years. The 31-year-old from York outshone not only four members of Nick Faldo&aposs side – Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 65, Graeme McDowell 68, Oliver Wilson 70 and Lee Westwood a level par 71 – but also Rory McIlroy. The 20-year-old will go top of the European money list with victory on Sunday and when he followed an opening birdie by holing his 104-yard wedge to the second for an eagle two it looked as if he might even improve on his first round 63 last year. But McIlroy picked up only one more shot and so signed for a 67. Dyson&aposs round contained eagles at the first and 15th. A two-iron to eight feet gave him the perfect start and a five-wood to 15 feet on the 516-yard 15th brought the other. He played alongside Paul Casey and Luke Donald in the amateur Walker Cup in 1999, but while they took just five years to graduate into Ryder Cup stars he is still waiting to make that leap. “I think I should have got a lot closer than I have,” he said. “It&aposs the ultimate – the one every professional wants to play in.” “It&aposs huge now I&aposve won a few times, but it never crossed my mind once while I was out there playing.” “This is a very mental game and when you get a win it does wonders for your mental state. I&aposm as confident as I&aposve ever been.” Westwood, joint third with McIlroy in the US PGA last time out, was not surprised he did not come out of the blocks faster. He spent the last two weeks on holiday in Portugal and said: “I played like somebody who had just nine holes one week and nine holes the next.” “I didn&apost get back to the races, but I hit a lot of good shots that didn&apost get rewarded.” One did, though. He matched Dyson&aposs eagle on the 15th. The fan hit by Rumford was released after having stitches, but was advised to have a check-up with her doctor on Friday.