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Something in the Air

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There must be something in the high altitude at Crans-sur-Sierre that suits Eduardo Romero. The Argentinean, who hasn't won on the European Tour since the 1994 Canon European Masters, has put himself in position to break his 6-year winless streak at the same event.
 
Romero shot a 7-under-par 64 to take a one-shot lead over Michael Campbell after the first round of the 2000 Canon European Masters in Switzerland. South African Hennie Otto is in third place at 5-under. Brett Rumford of Australia and local favorite Paolo Quirici are three off the lead after opening in 67.
 
Campbell set the early pace on Thursday by carding a 6-under-par 65. Suffering from a head cold, the Kiwi was able to get through his first round thanks to some needling from his playing companion, Thomas Bjorn.
 
'It's quite funny,' said Campbell. 'We have this little game going starting from five weeks ago. I was about 100,000 pounds ahead of Thomas and niggling him about it and he finished second in the Open and overtook me. I was second in the Scandinavian Masters and overtook him. Then, all of a sudden, he was third in the US PGA and first last week, so it's healthy to have this friendly rivalry.'
 
Campbell's stay at the top on Thursday didn't last long. Romero birdied the first, and then holed a wedge from 110 yards for an eagle at the sixth. The 46-year-old added four more birdies on his card to wrestle-away from Campbell the 18-hole lead.
 
'I also live in high altitude in Cordoba in Argentina,' said Romero. 'It is 1500 meters here and only 800 meters at home - and still high enough!'
 
When playing in higher elevation, concentration is key. Thursday, Romero said he had taken up a form of yoga to assist his concentration around the scenic Swiss course.
 
'It is something which came from India called Rhamil Hayat,' Romero stated. 'I started because I know concentration is my problem. I do it every morning before I play and every night. It's just mental work and my concentration is much better now.'
 
Six of the 12 1999 European Ryder Cup team members are in attendance this week. Of them, Darren Clarke leads the way. The Northern Irishman fired a 3-under-par 68 to get within four of the overnight lead. Stablemate Lee Westwood is five back after shooting 69.