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8 September 2001

OMEGA European Masters

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There were tense moments for Ernie Els and the entire OMEGA staff contingent in Crans-sur-Sierre today as everyone waited to find out whether OMEGA's golfing ambassador would make the cut and go through to the final two rounds, which will be played over the weekend. Ernie came in one over par on his second round, to give him an aggregate score of 172.

There were tense moments for Ernie Els and the entire OMEGA staff contingent in Crans-sur-Sierre today as everyone waited to find out whether OMEGA's golfing ambassador would make the cut and go through to the final two rounds, which will be played over the weekend. Ernie came in one over par on his second round, to give him an aggregate score of 172.



Having had an early start, his game was hindered by the unfavourable course conditions, after rain had softened the course overnight. Yesterday's leader Ricardo Gonzalez, on the other hand, benefited from a firmer course with his afternoon start, with three birdies over his first nine holes.As Gonzales's leading match was one of the last groups in, it was not until the end of the day that Ernie received the good news that he had made the cut, whilst he was enjoying cocktails with other players at a VIP OMEGA reception.



Denmark's Thomas Björn, whose first-round score placed him second, shared his opinions on the Plan Bramois course: 1. The atmosphere Most players choose the metre books over yardage books, since this takes 10% off the distance (the difference between a metre and a yard), which accounts for the longer travel of the ball at the high altitude of Crans-Montana. The problem is then controlling the flight of the ball, as it will go a lot further if it is struck straight up into the air. 2. The mountain setting Björn's best drive of the day on Thursday actually ended in an area of rough in the middle of the ninth fairway. The area in question is in a slight depression where the grass cannot be cut. This is a characteristic of the mountain landscape, which is much less predictable than the flat.



Ricardo Gonzalez was again one of the undoubted stars of the day, as he extended his lead to 10 under par. Based on his current form, Gonzalez could well achieve his aim of being one of the few Argentineans to win the tournament and take the title from fellow countryman Eduardo Romero, who finished the day three under par. England's David Gilford also put in another good performance, moving up from four under par to nine under to take second place. He attributed his improved form to a weight-gain regime that had seen him put on 18lbs (8 kilos) recently, which has surely helped him to hit the extra few yards that have been getting him such good positions on the green over the past two days. Gilford's score was equalled by Gary Orr of Scotland, who holed a consistent six birdies over the 18 holes.




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