Fasth takes lead at Pula

Fasth leads after round one but dismisses Order of Merit win

Last Updated: 26/10/07 4:17pm

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Fasth: Fine Friday morning

Fasth: Fine Friday morning

Sky Bet

Niclas Fasth finished up on top of the leaderboard after the first round at the Mallorca Classic was finally completed.

First round leaderboard: N Fasth (Swe) -5 A McLardy (SA) -4 G Murphy (Ire) -4 R Finch (Eng) -4

South African Andrew McLardy and Irishman Gary Murphy had shared the first round clubhouse lead on four-under when play was suspended on Thursday due to thunderstorms.

But Fasth, one of sixty players who failed to finish their opening rounds, completed his remaining 11 holes in two-under when play resumed on Friday morning.

The Swede finished up with a round of 67 to go five-under-par and take the top spot ahead of round two.

And after just a 45 minute break the Ascot-based golfer was back out for the second round.

Lucky

He said: "We've been lucky with the weather in the sense that at least we didn't have to play in the worst of it.

"It's a quick lunch and then we go again. It's a long day but we all want to get finished and I'm playing nicely and enjoying myself."

Fasth is one of five players who can still win the Order of Merit, currently led by Ernie Els.

But, requiring a win at Pula and first or second in the season-ending Volvo Masters next week, the 35-year-old played down his chances of topping the money list.

Asked if he was still targeting the Order of Merit, he said: "Not any more.

"I've failed to win that second tournament I needed (he won the BMW International Open in June) and I have a lot of catching up to do."

McLardy and Murphy, who both carded bogey-free 66s, were joined by Richard Finch of England who made a blistering start with four birdies in his first six holes before the inclement weather closed in.

Sergio Garcia conceded his game was a little rusty after a five-week break, but the pre-tournament favourite still returned a two-under-par 68 to put himself in contention.

Indeed, the Spaniard almost managed a hole-in-one at the 13th and, after mixing five birdies and three bogeys, was largely satisfied with his efforts.

Struggled

"I felt rusty on the front nine and struggled with a couple of tee shots, getting too narrow with my back swing," Garcia declared.

"On the 18th we also hit the wrong club but it was a good shot just left of the flag and that got me going, and I started to hit some good shots on the back nine."

Former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart ended the day a shot behind Garcia following a 69 as he launched his bid to retain his playing privileges for next season.

The Scot - a two-time Tour winner - needs to finish 13th or better in Mallorca to keep his card and admitted to feeling the pressure.

"I'll do my bit and give it my best and see what happens at the end of it," he said.

"I'd rather be playing under a different sort of pressure but it's the situation I find myself in and you have to adapt to it."

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