Lawrie leads by one at Sun City

Updated 30 November 2012
0

Lawrie leads by one at Sun City

SUN CITY, South Africa: Paul Lawrie has a chance at an ideal end to a strong comeback year after the Scot’s 3-under 69 gave him the halfway lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City yesterday.
Lawrie had just one bogey on another tough day for players on the challenging Gary Player Country Club course and made four birdies for a 4-under-par total of 140.
A major champion over a decade ago, Lawrie has a one-shot lead over Ryder Cup teammate Martin Kaymer heading to the weekend.
Kaymer had five birdies and only back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9 kept him back. The German sank the putt that retained the Ryder Cup for Europe but despite that golden moment, the former top-ranked golfer hasn’t won a tournament for a year.
Charl Schwartzel recovered from a bogey on his second hole to go around in 71 for a share of third at 1 under with Francesco Molinari (71), Louis Oosthuizen (72) and overnight co-leader Bill Haas (73) — two behind Kaymer and three off the pace.
Defending champion Lee Westwood was level par in his quest to become the first player to win three straight Nedbank titles. The No. 6-ranked Englishman made two double-bogeys in his second round and struggled to bogey No. 14 after ending up in an island of deep rough in the middle of a bunker. Only a birdie at the last kept Westwood from slipping into plus numbers in his title defense.
Haas came back well on the back nine after doubling his first hole and bogeying two more to turn at 40. The American made three birdies coming home for a 73 and a one-under 143 alongside local hopes Schwartzel and Oosthuizen and Italy’s Molinari.
Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts crashed from a share of the overnight lead to a tie for 10th in the 12-player field after successive sevens — one a double bogey and one a triple — on the 2nd and 3rd. He also had two other bogeys for a 6-over 78 to slump to 4 over.
Only Justin Rose is behind him. The No. 4-ranked Rose also had a triple-bogey seven on the treacherous par-4 3rd and four other bogeys to go 7 over for the day and slip to 8 over for the tournament. Rose has followed the course-record 62 he shot in the final round of the World Tour Championship with rounds of 73 and 79 in South Africa.
Swedes Peter Hanson and Carl Pettersson were behind Westwood in eighth and ninth respectively, with South Africa’s Garth Mulroy tied with Colsaerts for 10th on 4-over 148.
Schwartzel and Oosthuizen were both within range of the lead and a first home win at Sun City for five years after hanging in there on a windy day.

Lawrie was ultra-consistent and benefited from staying well clear of the tough rough. His approach to within five feet on 17 set up the last of four birdies for the 1999 British Open champion, who has won twice in 2012 after going nearly a decade without a victory before last year’s Open de Andalucia.


‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

Updated 51 min 49 sec ago
0

‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

  • Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday
  • Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious

ROSTOV-ON-DON: “Keeping possession of the ball seems to be the absolute and most important thing, but then when you sometimes find issues in getting the ball into your opponent’s half, you have to find other movements and ways of doing that,” said Oscar Tabarez after watching his lackluster Uruguay rely on a solitary Luis Suarez goal to eliminate Saudi Arabia from the World Cup. 
Tabarez was talking about his own team’s struggles, yet the assessment is considerably more applicable to the Green Falcons, who dominated possession and retained the ball with ease in midfield, yet for the second match running looked absolutely bereft of ideas in the final third. With Uruguay and Russia now on six points, Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday.
The Green Falcons coach Juan Antonio Pizzi confirmed he intends to stay at the helm of the side for the long-haul, yet is only too aware that the potential of this team is being hamstrung by its inability to score. He called it “our weakness”, adding that his side enjoyed “good ball possession, but no effectiveness”. They, he said, did not have the sufficient “weapons or tools” to equalize.
Pizzi’s side have found the net now just twice in their past five games and against Uruguay managed only three shots on target in 90 minutes — two of which came in added time and were so tame they would hardly have troubled the opposition goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had he been relaxing at his far post sipping a drink. In the 5-0 defeat to Russia last week, they failed to muster a single shot on target. 
Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious. One passage of play in the opening exchanges saw Saudi Arabia complete 16 passes untroubled without the ball entering the opposition penalty box. When Uruguay finally won possession, they required only four quick exchanges to find Edinson Cavani on the left wing drilling the ball across the front of goal. 
“I don’t share that assessment,” said Pizzi, when it was put to him that his team was too slow to attack. “We played at the speed that was necessary. We need to be accurate, but if you step up the speed you lose accuracy with your passes. We had control of the game and that was why.”
Striker Mohammed Al-Sahlawi had been the focal point of much criticism from Turki Al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, after the Russia “fiasco” and was dropped from the side against Uruguay. So too was goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, another who Al-Sheikh name-checked as having been at fault.
Pizzi, asked whether the scathing assessment from his bosses had forced his hand when it came to team selection, calmly dismissed the suggestion. He also ruled out the notion that administrative issues between the players and the country’s football federation had caused unrest in his squad.
“I have a list of 23 players here and they are all available to play. We are here together and pushing in the same direction. 
“I wanted — and still want — to make the Saudi Arabian people feel proud of our energy and the desire we show in matches. Unfortunately we were unable to do that against Russia and will be playing our next match without any hope of progressing. I hope now they will feel a little more proud even though we are out of the World Cup,” he said.