There is one week to go before the Ryder Cup, so it's up to some of the rookies to put their hands up and say to Nick Faldo, look at me, I'm great, you'll want me playing in all five matches. The key to matchplay is of course making birdies, and if you are going to have a bad hole, it doesn't matter if it's a bogey or a triple bogey, as long as those bad holes are few. So Soren Hansen made a good stab at getting that pattern nailed yesterday in his second round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship. The Dane, set to enter the Ryder Cup Ranks next week, recorded an amazing 10 birdies in his round in less than favourable conditions, a recommendation to Faldo if ever there was one. But he also managed to drop 5 strokes in his round as well. But he did it in good matchplay style, by dropping those five in only three holes, two bogeys and a triple bogey on the 12th. That's only three holes he might lose, but ten he would have potentially won. Excellent Matchplay um.. play. If you're going to drop strokes do it all on one hole, great work getting it out of his sytem on the twelfth like that.
Unfortunately for Soren, this is a strokeplay tournament and that triple cost him a move right to the top of the leaderboard. As it was the 67 he posted took him to a tie for fifth.
Robert Karlsson took charge of the tournament, his 69 giving him a one shot lead at the top on 8 under par. He is followed on 7 under by Jean-Francios Lucquin whose 71 kept his chal lenge ticking over. Peter Hanson had his second successive 69 around the awesomely named Gut Lärchenhof course to lie on his own in third on 6 under. The leader after round 1, Richard Finch, could only manage a one over 73 to slip down to fourth place on 5 under.
The challenge of host Langer fell a little flaccid after a pumped up start. Langer limply made a 76 to droop down into a share of 35th place. Four Bogeys on the front nine left the Langer head hanging low and though he kept going on the way home and leaked no more shots, he couldn't reaffirm his challenge to become the oldest winner on tour. Still, he's performed admirably for one of the oldies.