Ferrie in fine form

3/26/2011 1:47:58 PM
Kenneth Ferrie  (Getty Images)
Kenneth Ferrie (Getty Images)

English golfer Kenneth Ferrie used to wear a Superman belt - and at the Open de AndalucĂ­a de Golf by Turkish Airlines in Malaga he played like him too.

His unusual accessory attracted almost as much attention as his golf when he led the US Open Championship in 2006, but it was all about his on-course heroics as a European Tour record-equalling 60, four strokes better than his previous best, gave Ferrie the chance to be the first ever to win after surviving the halfway cut with nothing to spare.

After an eagle and seven birdies in the first 17 holes of the par 70 Parador lay-out the 32 year old needed to hole his six iron approach to the 449 yard last for the magical 59 - and came within a few inches of it.

He becomes, though, only the 14th player to shoot 60 without the help of preferred lies since Italian Baldovino Dassu was the first to do it 40 years ago.

From seven behind at the start of the day - and from joint 45th place - the former European Open champion, who has been going through tough times the last four seasons and only just held on to his European Tour card in November, amazingly led by three as he posted his 11 under total.

At that point, though, overnight pacesetters Maarten Lafeber, Jeppe Huldahl and Rikard Karlberg had not even teed off for their third rounds.

Ferrie described himself as "ecstatic" about the round, but then was at pains to say there was nothing extraordinary about it.

"It was unspectacular, but it added up to a spectacular score," he said.

"You'd expect somebody with such a low score to have holed (long) putts and hit spectacular shots, but it was just a very steady round - lots of fairways, lots of greens and a lot of wedges to four or five feet which I managed to knock in.

"Some days you shoot 70 and you are doing cartwheels and are over the moon, but I don't feel I did anything above and beyond.

"I realised that if I finished birdie-birdie-birdie it would have been 59, but 16 and 18 are strong holes and if you get out of position on them you are going to struggle to make pars.

"My six iron at the last looked very good and when it landed I got a little bit excited, but I would gladly have taken 60 with three to play."

He was only one under for the first seven holes, but then had three birdies in a row, eagled the long 12th and added further birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th before the closing tap-in.

It did not take long for Ferrie's three shot advantage to be cut to one, although it was none of the overnight leaders who did it.

Scotland's former Open Champion Paul Lawrie birdied three of the first six holes, while Swede Johan Edfors turned in 31 and then started for home with three more birdies in four holes to reach ten under as well.

Edfors caught Ferrie when he added another birdie at the 14th, but he bogeyed the 16th and 18th to slip back to nine under.

Lawrie then missed a chance to go joint leader when he missed from under five feet at the long 12th.

Lawrie had a massive break on the short 13th when his pulled tee shot was heading for big trouble, but rebounded onto the green off a spectator's back.

He just failed to birdie there, but made four on the 521 yard next and found himself in a three-way tie with Ferrie and another Englishman, Mark Foster, who had his sixth birdie of the back nine on the 17th.