Sat, Nov 24, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Wind blows unheralded Sandelin to the top spot

STORMING TO THE FORE Teeing off in the morning, the Swede took full advantage of the calm weather to shoot a six-under-par 66 and take the Asian Open lead

By Jeffrey Wilson  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Jarmo Sandelin putts on the second day of the US$ 1.5 million BMW Asian Open at the Westin Resort Ta Shee yesterday. The Swede carded a six-under-par at 66 to take the lead.

PHOTO: AP

Strong, swirling winds blew familiar names to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the US$1.5 million BMW Asian Open at the Westin Resort Ta Shee yesterday.

Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden carded a six-under-par 66 yesterday to put him at six under overall with Ryder Cup teammate Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain a shot off the pace.

Fiji's Vijay Singh, Spain's Jose Maria Olazabel and Carl Pettersson of Sweden share third place another stroke back at four-under.

Sandelin is looking to put his disappointing last season behind him in Taiwan at the opening event of the 2002 European PGA Tour.

"It hasn't been a very good year," said Sandelin, who finished 100th on the 2001 European Tour Order of Merit. "I have always been very confident, even when I'm playing badly, because I know that when I play well I can beat anyone and that's driving me on."

After an even par round of 72 on Thursday, Sandelin started well yesterday.

"The key for me was a really good tee shot off the first. I hit a seven iron very close and made the putt," said Sandelin, who had six more birdies and a eagle on the par 5-sixth hole to go with three bogeys.

With tee times in the morning, both Sandelin and Jimenez took advantage of relatively calm conditions before the strong winds kicked up.

Jimenez carded a three-under 69 yesterday, one stroke better than his opening round.

"I'm continuing to go lower and lower. I hit the ball very well," said Jimenez, who started on the tenth hole. "I made birdie at the par 5 number 14 and the rest was very consistent with birdies at 1 and 2."

Among the players battling winds in the afternoon were Olazabel and Singh.

Olazabel recorded his second consecutive round of two-under 70, playing a steady round of two birdies and two bogeys yesterday as he focused on his play from the tee box.

"I'm hitting the driver much better this last couple of days," said the two-time US Masters champion. "I've been working on widening my back swing and trying not to shut the clubface on the way back."

Singh, meanwhile, was pleased by yesterday's two-shot improvement to a three-under 69.

"It was quite windy so I was comfortable with the way I played. A few more putts could have gone in, but that's the way it goes," he said.

Overnight leader Sebastien Delagrange of France fell back to one-over with a second round 77. New Zealand's Michael Campbell, the last big winner on the Ta Shee layout at the 1999 Johnnie Walker Classic, double-bogeyed the final hole to also sit at one-over.

The cut for the top 66 and ties fell at five-over par. Nine of the 12 Taiwanese players made it into the weekend, led by Chung Chun-hsing (鍾春興) at one-over.

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