Higgins Goes Low to Take Lead in Madrid


David Higgins made nine birdies against no bogies Friday for a spectacular 62 which shot him into the lead of the Telefonica Open de Madrid.
At 13-under-par 129 through 36 holes, the 28-year-old Irishman leads by a stroke over Steve Webster (who also ripped off a Day 2 62 at the Club de Campo), Brian Davis (64) and current Order of Merit leader Retief Goosen (64).
Entering the weekend, not only does Higgins find himself in good shape for the tournament, but also for keeping his card next year.
With just one event left after this week, he sits precariously on the bubble at the 128th spot on the money list. A top-10 finish this week would do his cause wonders for 2002.
A win would even be better.
Teeing off on the back side first at the Club de Campo, Higgins made short work of the course, rattling off four birdies over his first nine holes, and then coming home with five more red numbers.
He nearly ended his day with perfection, as his tee shot to the par-3 9th (his 18th) ended just inches from the cup.
The tap-in birdie gave him 62, which would have broken the course record had it not been for preferred lies.
Click Here to see David Higgins' scorecard.
Ive been putting too much pressure on myself and getting down on myself but this week Ive been really relaxed, Higgins claimed. Ive nothing to lose and Ive tried not to think about the situation I am in. If I do it, I do it.
If he does it, hell have to beat Goosen, who has emerged this year as one of the great talents in the game today.
The reigning U.S. Open champion is looking to lock up his money title this year, and through the first two days, he has recorded only one bogey.
Like Goosen, Webster only slipped with a single bogey on Friday, and had it not been for that blemish at the par-4 13th, the Englishman might have shot 61.
Webster did most of his damage on the front nine, going 5-under through a six-hole stretch from the third through the eighth. As did Higgins, Webster birdied his last hole of the day, making three at the par-4 18th.
In a tie for 13th at 7-under, overnight leader Padraig Harrington could do no better than a Friday 72 following his opening round of 63.
The Irishman is looking for his first win since taking this tournament last year, and is attempting to break a trend which has seen him finish runner-up seven times in 2001.
Also going for a victory is Darren Clarke. Currently second behind Goosen on the money list, Clarke must win to have any sort of a chance to take the Order of Merit title.
On Friday, he shot 69, and sits seven shots off the pace at 6-under entering Saturday.
Click Here to See Full-Field Scores from the Telefonica Open de Madrid.