Pair Lead Els 4 Off the Pace

By Associated PressJuly 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Barclays Scottish OpenGLASGOW, Scotland -- arcus Fraser of Australia shot into contention with a 30 on the front nine at the Scottish Open on Saturday and wound up in a share of the lead with Gregory Havret of France. Fraser's brilliant round of 7-under 64 propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.
The top finisher at Loch Lomond not already eligible earns a place in the field at next week's British Open.
'Everyone knows there's one spot up for grabs, and everyone is trying to grab it,' Fraser said, who had to withdraw from a British Open qualifier earlier this year with a shoulder injury.
Havret, who failed to earn a spot at a European qualifier two weeks ago, birdied five of the first eight holes and looked as if he might run away from the field, but had only one birdie and a bogey the rest of the way for a 5-under 66 to join Fraser at 14-under 199.
Michael Campbell matched the best round of the week with a 63, including one of only a dozen birdies on the 18th that left him one shot out of the lead. David Howell of England (67) was at 201, while Peter Lonard got into the mix with a 66 that put him at 11-under 202.
Ernie Els also gave himself a chance to defend his title in the Barclays Scottish Open. Despite a brief confrontation with a photographer, the Big Easy kept his cool long enough to shoot 65 and was among those four shots behind.
'It's a little bit difficult to get into the week,' said Els, playing for the first time since an 80 in the final round of the U.S. Open. 'Now that I'm in, I'm going to try to win the tournament.'
Also at 10-under 203 was Roger Chapman, the next highest player on the leaderboard not yet in the British Open.
Fraser was a little bit miffed about the new format for getting into the British Open. Instead of 36-hole qualifiers held the weekend before the Open at four nearby links, the Royal & Ancient held international qualifiers in four locations around the world.
The 25-year-old Aussie picked the Malaysia site, but had to withdraw with a shoulder injury so severe he could not even travel. The R&A did not let him sign up for another qualifier, such as the one at Sunningdale.
'I think if you have a legitimate excuse and a medical certificate, you should be allowed to change the venue,' Fraser said. 'Disappointing, but that's the way it goes.'
He noted that fellow Aussie Nick O'Hern also had to withdraw from a qualifier in Australia. Further fueling the debate over international qualifiers are the 52 Americans who didn't even bother showing up at Congressional earlier this month for a chance to get into the British Open.
'A heart muscle, wasn't it?' Fraser said, adding to the perception of that American golfers are pampered.
Fraser, a mild-mannered Aussie whose sole victory on the European tour came last year in Russia, said he saw no reason to complain to the R&A.
'Just move on and let my golf clubs do the talking,' he said.
They spoke loudly on a such a mild day along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond that 21 players shot 68 or better. At the other end was Colin Montgomerie, whose hopes for good form going into Royal Troon came crashing down with a 76, the worst score of the day.
'You lose confidence and the hole gets very small,' Montgomerie said. 'Never mind. One of those days to forget. Try to score in the 60s tomorrow and take some confidence to Troon.'
Fraser and Havret simply want to get to Royal Troon.
The Aussie was brilliant from the start, holing a 30-foot eagle putt on the third and making four birdies inside 10 feet. He cooled slightly on the back nine, and a bogey on the par-3 17th dropped him into a share of the lead.
Havret holed a 60-foot chip for one of his five birdies, but a three-putt on the 11th slowed his momentum. Like Fraser, the Frenchman is well aware what's at stake on Sunday.
'I have never played the Open and I really want to play it this year, if it is possible,' Havret said. 'So I think there is only one spot. Just the one, eh? It will be a good battle.'
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