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New-look Oldcorn sets the pace; GOLF.

Byline: DAVID PRIOR

ANDREW OLDCORN fired a superb 64 on the opening day of the Via Digital Spanish Open in Valencia - and claimed his magical round was down to a change in attitude.

The 41-year-old Scot has been out of the limelight for the past few seasons but he returned to the top of the leaderboard with a bang after yesterday's eight-under-par score.

"I've only played two tournaments this year, in Dubai and Madeira," explained Oldcorn. "Two things have made me change my attitude on the golf course and in life - the birth of my daughter Natasha and the death of my friend and manager, Alan Maxwell."

Certainly the Bolton-born pro did not seem to have a care in the world as he amassed eight birdies thanks to some iron play of the highest quality.

Darren Clarke burst out of stalls yesterday with six straight birdies, only to be lose momentum and settle on the end for a 67.

Other Brits in contention include Englishman Andrew Raitt and Scot Graham Rankin, both at five-under after 67s. Raitt, 31, burst into life on the ninth, from where he had six birdies in seven holes to move to six-under, only for a dropped shot at the 16th to cost him an overnight share of second.

Ian Garbutt returned a tidy 68 to lie a further shot back, with Andrew Coltart, David Lynn, Warren Bennett and Atherstone's Steve Webster among the group on 69, three under par.

Webster made a great start with birdies at the third and the fifth, only to bogey the sixth, but after nine consecutive pars, he then made two more birdies at the 16th and 18th.

Warwickshire amateur champion Tom Whitehouse, from Maxstoke Park, enjoyed a solid 71 to be on course to make th cut in only his second outing on the European Tour.

He birdied the 428-yard par four first, suffered bogeys at the sixth and eighth, but then birdied thgree of the four holes from the 11th. Dropped shots then followed at 16th and 17th, only for the 20-year-old to birdie the last.

John Bickerton, representing the Forest of Arden, also came in with a 71 but Kenilworth's Mark Mouland littered four bogeys into his first nine holes and had to settle for 74.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 20, 2001
Words:379
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