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GOLF: Around the Greens: WATCH YOUR STEP; Plenty of on-course hazards as golfers go round.

Byline: Bradley DREDGE

I HAD some sympathies with Justin Rose this week for picking up a one-shot penalty after stepping on his ball during the first round of the French Open.

I did exactly the same in the Lancome Trophy a couple of years ago and also lost money as a result -but nowhere near the pounds 62,000 it cost Justin for coming joint third instead of second on Sunday.

Nowadays on the European Tour the rough on the courses have been left to grow very thick and stepping on you ball is easily done.

It also goes to show how lapses in concentration can cost you potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Also, the professional must have a thorough knowledge of the rules as there are always laws to catch you out.

I found that out to my cost during my amateur days and my first invite to join the professionals on the European Tour at the Benson & Hedges International Open at Mellion in Cornwall.

I played with Jose Maria Olazabal in the Pro-Am. He had just won the US Masters and we had a really good round and fantastic day as Jose is one of the friendliest blokes you can meet on the Tour.

The following two days I was drawn to play with Mathias Gronberg.

He was brilliant and took me under his wing and showed me the ropes on the European Tour.

Late on in the second round I realised I was very close to making the cut.

But there were still some tough holes to play and, sure enough, my approach shot to the 18th green ended up in water.

Myself and Mathias established the point of entry as it was a lateral water hazard and I then dropped my ball two club lengths away. It meant I was not now at the point of entry to the flagstick, but to the side.

I chipped and putted to make the cut and was sat in the clubhouse with my dad when tournament referee Andy McPhee came in and disqualified me.

He took me out to the 18th and pointed out the error of my ways, but I still don't know to this day who spotted it or reported me.

But they pulled me up on it and I was disqualified.

Since then I have made a point to know the rules because there are so many of them to catch you out.

Last weekend's joint-eighth position was a great morale-booster for me after two weeks off the Tour.

The French Open is a massive event in it's own right, but my eyes were really set on the next three tournaments.

I am looking to gear my game up at the K Club and Loch Lomond over the next fortnight to ensure I am at my best to have a good British Open at Sandwich.

I want to get myself up for these tournaments.

The K Club this week, for the European Open in Dublin, is one of the toughest courses you can play on the Tour and I feel the harder courses suit me more.


# COSTLY FOOTSTEP Justin Rose paid the penalty for losing concentration.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 2, 2003
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