• Senior Open Championship

History-chasing Montgomerie struggles at Senior Open Championship

ESPN staff
July 24, 2014
Colin Montgomerie only had two birdies in the day © Getty Images

Colin Montgomerie has plenty of work to do if he is to become only the second man after Gary Player to win all three Senior majors in a season as he is seven shots off the lead at the Senior Open Championship.

Montgomerie carded a one-over 72 at Royal Porthcawl as he only had two birdies in the opening round and dropped three shots.

"It's very, very firm and fast, quite like Muirfield last year or even Hoylake back in 2006. If we don't get rain tonight, it might be even tougher," Montgomerie said.

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On potentially matching Player's achievement of 1988, Montgomerie added: "I just have to really enjoy myself. This has never really been my sort of course if I'm honest with you. If I was to be brutally honest, I don't have a very good record in the Open Championship. Although I was second once."

Bernhard Langer made a statement of intent when he opened with a six-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over Bob Tway.

Langer, who threw away a two-stroke lead on the final hole at Royal Birkdale last year and then was beaten for the title in a play-off, was out in a best-of-the-day 31.

He birdied the third, fourth, sixth and eighth holes, and went five under when he birdied the long 13th. He dropped a shot at the 16th but then hit back immediately with birdies at the two closing holes.

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"Six under is very satisfying," Langer said. "I played smart, some good, some great.

"I kept it out of the bunkers and out of the hay, and gave myself some opportunities. And I'm pleased with a birdie-birdie finish."

Langer is trying to add a second British Senior title to the one he won at Carnoustie in 2010.

Tway set the early target at four-under 67, with birdies at the first, sixth, 12th and 13th, and no dropped shots.

"It was a pleasure to play a nice round of golf on a great golf course," Tway said. "I probably should have bogeyed a couple of holes coming in, but I got lucky."

Chris Williams was alone in third on a bogey-free 68 with birdies at holes two, four and six, while Andrew Oldcorn was a stroke behind in fourth. Spain's Pedro Linhart and Canadian Rick Gibson were tied for fifth on 70.

Mark Wiebe, who beat Langer in last year's play-off and played with him in the first round, carded a five-over 76.

Tom Watson had a roller-coaster front nine of one-over 36, steadied the ship for five holes after the turn, then dropped three strokes on successive holes before birdieing the last for a three-over 74.

On the way out he birdied the first, dropped a stroke at the next three holes, parred No.5, birdied the sixth, dropped a stroke at the seventh, birdied the eighth, and parred the ninth.

The winner at Royal Birkdale two years ago, Fred Couples, was out in 39 after a triple-bogey eight at the long sixth, but stormed back with a birdie-eagle-birdie run from the 12th to get back to level, dropped a stroke at the 16th, and birdied the last to be back in 32 for a par 71.

Extracts in this piece were taken from ESPN.com

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