The Scot battled through Qualifying at Gailes Links
"I'll be enjoying every minute of it," said Monty
COLIN MONTGOMERIE | THE OPEN
Colin Montgomerie says it will be ‘very special’ to tee it up in his hometown of Troon after making it through a gruelling Final Qualifying for the 145th Open Championship at Gailes Links.
The 53-year-old, who sealed a spot at the Open for the first time since 2010, followed up a scintillating five-under-par first round 66 with a battling level par 71 to post five-under-par to seal the third of three places on offer behind Oscar Alvidsson and Scott Fernandez.
After completing his second round at 6.30pm, Montgomerie had to hang around until the penultimate group finished at 8pm, with fellow Scot Jack Doherty needing a birdie at the last to force a play-off.
But, thankfully for the two-time Senior major winner, Doherty missed his lengthy birdie putt – leaving Montgomerie to reflect on a tough but rewarding day’s work.
“I’m obviously delighted,” said Colin Montgomerie. “The course was a bit trickier and of course you get tired as well. You forget I’m the oldest competitor here today and at 53, 36 holes is a bit of an ordeal.
“You get tired both mentally and physically and some of my putts weren’t going in as easily as they were this morning. They call it golf’s longest day and it certainly is. You’re up at 5am and we’re here talking at half 8 – but it’s well worth it.
“To be playing in the Open at Troon is very special and I’ll be enjoying every minute of it. I won’t have another chance to play an Open at Troon as it comes around once every 12 years and I’ll be 65 by then! This was my last opportunity so it’s very special.
Joining Montgomerie at Royal Troon from Gailes Links was winner Alvidsson, who plays on the Asian Development Tour, on ten-under-par, while Challenge Tour player Fernandez was thrilled to bounce back from a disappointing week at the Scottish Hydro Challenge.
“I drove down from Aviemore on Sunday and got some practice in,” he said. “I just turned pro in December so it’s certainly my highest achievement. I’ve had a few good rounds on the Challenge Tour but this was such a tough finishing round for me in keeping my nerves in check.”
Elsewhere, Paul Dunne, who led the Open Championship after 54 holes as an amateur at St Andrews last year, qualified at Woburn alongside Ryan Evans and Robert Rock.
At Royal Cinque Ports, Matthew Southgate, Steven Alker and James Heath progressed while at Hillside, winner Jack Senior was joined by Dave Coupland and Paul Howard.
Colin Montgomerie :: Open bound
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