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Torrance Leads Sarazen World Golf

November 6, 1997

BRASELTON, Ga. (AP) _ Scotland’s Sam Torrance hasn’t been in contention in quite awhile and hasn’t won a tournament in two years.

That slide may be coming to an end.

Torrance overcame Thursday’s wet and chilly weather to post a 4-under-par 68 for a one-stroke lead in the rain-delayed opening round of the $2 million Sarazen World Open golf tournament.

PGA Tour regulars Scott Hoch and Vijay Singh were next at 69 over the 6,993-yard, par-72 Legends at the soggy Chateau Elan, which played much longer due to rain that postponed play for more than 3 1/2 hours in mid-morning.

`I really do miss winning tournments, being in contention,″ said Torrance, who has won 20 European PGA events, but none since winning the Irish Open, Italian Open and British Masters in 1995.

``That’s what has been missing this year _ good first rounds,″ he said.

Steward Cink, the former Georgia Tech star and leading contender for rookie of the year, led a group at 70 that included Australia’s Robert Allenby and Wayne Riley, Britain’s Edward Fryatt and Stephen Field, the Czech Republic’s Alex Cejka, Sweden’s Mathias Gronberg and New Zealand’s Michael Long.

David Duval, another former Yellow Jacket who has won the last three PGA events he entered, including last week’s $720,000 first prize in the Tour Championship, was another stroke back at 71. European Ryder Cup member Lee Westwood, Craig Stadler, Clinton Whitelaw, Steve van Vuuren of South Africa and Spain’s Ignacio Feliu also were at 71.

Another European Ryder Cup player, Ian Woosnam, was at 73.

Half of the 108-man field didn’t finish when play was suspended by darkness at 5:10 p.m. EST, including two-time defending champion Frank Nobilo of New Zealand, who was 1-over after nine holes. Nobilo and the rest of the field will finish the first round Friday morning prior to the start of the second round.

Steve Jones, the 1996 U.S. Open winner, and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera were at 3-under, Jones through nine holes, Cabrera after six.

Mark Calcavecchia was 2-under after eight holes.

Torrance, who had seven birdies on the brisk 45-degree day, also had three bogeys, including one on the last hole.

``It’s always sad to finish with a bogey,″ said Torrance, an eight-time European Ryder Cup player from 1981-95. He was 56th on the European money list this year with $187,560, with his best tournament finish a tie for sixth in the British Masters.

``But,″ he added, ``this was the best putting round I’ve had in a long time.″

Torrance, who also played in four U.S. events this year _ missing the cut in two, tying for 39th in the Masters and tying for 45th in the PGA _ made several long putts for birdies, including two from 30 feet, another from 25 feet and three from 15 feet.

``Good rounds have been few and far between this year,″ he said.

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