GOLF: Rock in a Hard Place to His Liking

Article excerpt

Byline: Harry Jack

European Tour rookie Robert Rock carded seven birdies to set the pace in the opening round of the Mauritius Open.

The 26-year-old from Staffordshire returned a six-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead over a group of three players which included defending champion Mark Mouland.

Playing the course for the first time, Rock suffered one setback when finding water off the tee at the long par-four 14th. That cost him his only dropped shot.

'It is not an easy course by any means,' said Rock, who gained his Tour card for 2004 on the strength of the money he won from invitation appearances last season.

'I took a lot of two-irons off the tee and only used my driver three times. But it was my putting that pleased me most.'

Rock's closest rivals at the start of the second round over the Belle Mare Plage resort's links course include last year's winner, Kenilworth's Mouland, who was helped to a 67 by an eagle at the par-five 13th.

Welshman Mouland shares second place among a 70-strong field with Simon Khan, from Essex, who eagled the par-five 18th, and Belgian Arnaud Langenaeken.

Peter Senior went round in 65 on the second day of the Australian PGA Championship to open up a five-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard.

After firing a 64 on Thursday, Senior continued his excellent form to build a decent lead over fellow Australian Rod Pampling at the halfway stage at Hyatt Regency Coolum.

Senior's round of seven-under took him to 15-under overall, and included a hat-trick of birdies at the turn and just one dropped shot at the 14th.

Pampling, who started the day one shot adrift of Senior, could not keep up with his rival's hot pace, although he would have been four behind the leader but for a bogey at the last. …