amateur golf
amateur golf

Russian Open:
Edlund keeps odd secret

By Lewine Mair in Moscow
Electronic Telegraph

TONY EDLUND has no intention of revealing his secret to the Russians, or to anyone else for that matter. The Swede, who handed in a seven-under-par 65 to lead the field in the Challenge Tour's BMW Russian Open at the Moscow Country Club, was playing in one black shoe and one white.

Edlund, 28, would only say that it was something he first started to do two years ago - and that he would carry on doing it "until my last round of golf".

For the moment, much the same would seem to apply to his cause as his shoes. Here, though, he would give anything for a tidy pair of 65's but said that he had yet to discover the art of following one good score with another.

To date, he has never finished inside the top 60 on the Challenge Tour's order of merit.

David Higgins, the current leader of the order, is among those on 66, as is a truly remarkable French golfer by the name of Frederic Cupillard. The victim of a motorcycling accident at the age of 15, Cupillard, now 29, is blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and also suffers from a degree of facial paralysis.

He missed six months' schooling after the crash but, in a state of affairs to reinforce the view that he was one of life's fighters, he came down from a nine handicap to three. At 20, he won the French Amateur and, at 21, he represented his country in the Eisenhower Trophy.

He turned professional at the end of 1992 and is now in his eighth season on the Challenge Tour. Last year, at final qualifying, he was a tantalising one shot away from winning his PGA European Tour card.

Yesterday, this correct technician was out in 31. His second half was not so smooth but, as he would explain, he tires easily in heat and, when that happens, his good eye cannot pick out the lines on the green.

Mark Mouland, who has been demoted to this tour for the first time in his life, says that this Russian event, in terms of atmosphere and set-up, is the equal of any tournament on the main circuit. What is more, he said as much after his first-round 75 rather than before it.

Obviously, not everything on the Challenge Tour is quite the same as it is for the top players, with the first-tee starting process a case in point. On the main tour, one Ivor Robson gives a gentle little spiel about each player before sending him on his way.

The Russian lady on starting duty yesterday had a rather different approach, hammering on her clipboard before issuing the order: "Please, on the tee." Without any more ado, the players hit their drives and made off smartly down the fairway. Alas, the effects of that no-nonsense start were all too soon forgotten, with several groups becoming unacceptably slow.

Trevor Immelman, who won the recent Kenyan Open, was one who was being closely monitored for slow play during his 68. Immelman, who was at one point expected to make much the same kind of progress as Tiger Woods, is currently thriving on some advice from Nick Price, the South African. "At this stage," said Price, "all that matters is that you learn something new every week."

Details BMW RUSSIAN OPEN (Moscow).- 1st rd leaders: 65-T Edlund (Sweden). 66-F Cupillard (France); F Bisazza (Italy); D Higgins (Ireland); G Clark (GB); P Edmond (France); J Hugo (S Africa). 67-G Pietrobono (Italy); P Dwyer (GB); E Little (Scotland); M Bernardini (Italy). Other GB: 68-S Little; G Rankin. 69-A Clapp; G Storm; C Gane; M Foster; S Khan. 70-S Webster; C Challen; A Raitt.





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