Water woes for Bjorn

Last updated at 11:10 12 May 2006


Thomas Bjorn's defence of the British Masters title was in severe danger of ending early after a wretched start to his second round at The Belfry.

Already three over par after an opening 75, the Ryder Cup Dane probably needed at least a 69 to have any chance of surviving the halfway cut.

But Bjorn, who beat David Howell and Brian Davis in a play-off at the nearby Forest of Arden last year, saw his approach to the 311-yard 10th spin into the water.

He double-bogeyed the hole and instantly slumped to five-over - 11 adrift of leaders Darren Clarke, Peter Hanson and US Open champion Michael Campbell.

Even though Bjorn birdied the 13th and 17th to get back to where he started the day, he needed to find top gear on the front nine to save himself.

There was one saving grace for Liverpool fan Bjorn if he failed in his bid. Missing the cut would guarantee he takes his seat at tomorrow's FA Cup final after he, Clarke and Paul McGinley had laid plans for a dash by helicopter after their third rounds.

Clarke was among the later starters, but Swede Hanson was in the first group back on the course at 7.30am and after birdies at the 16th and 17th he bogeyed two of the next three to go back to six-under.

A return to Europe was working wonders for Campbell again.

The New Zealander took the last month off after missing three cuts in a row in America, but as happened when he quit the US PGA Tour three years ago Campbell quickly found his game again on the other side of the Atlantic.

Five-under overnight, a three-putt bogey at the 11th left him two behind, but then came a birdie on the long 15th and a rare one at the 473-yard 18th, where he rolled in a 30-foot putt.

Playing partners Padraig Harrington and Nick Dougherty were both making great attempts to stay alive in the event after starting with 75 and 78 respectively.

Harrington matched Campbell's birdie at the fearsome 18th, hitting a fantastic approach to within six feet, and that was his fourth birdie on the inward half. At one-under he was on the expected cut mark.

Dougherty, 10th in the Ryder Cup race this season, needed a dramatic transformation in his fortunes and when he eagled the long 17th he was four-under for the day.

But he then missed the green at the 18th and bogeyed.

Ian Poulter, who is intending to fly to Paris on the eve of next week's Irish Open to watch the Champions League final, three-putted the same green and but for that would have made it a four-way tie at the top.

Back from America like Harrington, he had added birdies at the 11th and 17th to his opening 68.

Lee Westwood made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 10th and was three-under, but he then bogeyed the 12th, 15th and 18th to be down to level par.

Paul Casey (five-under), David Howell (two-under), Colin Montgomerie (level) and McGinley (three-over) were late starters like Clarke.

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