Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty Is Left in Riley's Slipstream

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty Is Left in Riley's Slipstream

Article excerpt


COLIN MONTGOMERIE'S pre-tournament optimism that the Victor Chandler British Masters might provide him with his first win in Europe for over a year was today challenged in the Scot's first round.

The guide to Woburn's new Marquess course describes the 12th hole as one that "will be loved or hated".

The large gallery following Montgomerie was left in no doubt which emotion was adopted by the former European No 1 as he dropped his approach to the green into the second of two ponds that split the fairway.

The resulting double-bogey six sent Montgomerie from one under - he birdied his second hole, the heavily bunkered par-five 11th - to one over.

There was further agony to come as he lost another shot on the 13th to fall seven shots in arrears of early pacesetter Wayne Riley.

Montgomerie wasn't the only big gun failing to fire. Ryder Cup teammate Darren Clarke, at a loss to explain his lack of early-season form, reached the turn on the back nine on one-over-par 37.

The Ulsterman was so frustrated when he left a 10 foot putt for par well short on the 18th that he shaped up with his putter to slam the ball all the way back to his Surrey home. Fortunately, Clarke regained his composure sufficiently to card a bogey five.

Riley, starting at the first, confounded his reputation for being wild and wayward by carefully crafting birdies at his opening three holes. He then eagled the seventh, where the fairway is divided by trees to offer two approaches to the green, and saved another shot at the par-three eighth to turn in five under 31.

That gave a target for late starter Lee Westwood to aim at, the Order of Merit champion going into the event insisting that he is not ready to press the panic button over a loss of form that has seen him plummet down golf's European rankings. …

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