COLIN MONTGOMERIE| THE OPEN
Colin Montgomerie looks well placed to play in his first Open Championship since 2010 after getting off to a terrific start in the opening round of Final Open Qualifying.
The Scot, who has reportedly played Gailes Links numerous times in the build-up to today’s event, made four birdies in his final six holes as he pursues the chance to play at Royal Troon in two weeks’ time, where he is an honorary member.
After reaching the turn at one-under-par, the 53-year-old kick-started his back nine with birdies at the 13th and 14th holes before following that up with a par in at the 15th.
And, in front of a gallery of spectators in excess of 100, Montgomerie sunk an exceptional 50ft putt from the front of the 16th green and he continued that form on the 17th with a perfect approach shot to 4ft before tapping in the putt. A poor tee shot on 18 threatened to put a dampener on his excellent run but a fine up-and-down saw the Scot in as the clubhouse leader on five-under-par.
After reaching the halfway point of his day’s work, Montgomerie turned down the chance to speak to the media – saying that he would wait until after he’d finished his second round – with that due to start at 1.35pm.
But the Scot was soon toppled off top spot by Oskar Arvidsson, a 25-year-old Swede currently playing on the Asian Development Tour, who shot a blistering seven-under-par 64.
“I played well,” he said. “I made a lot of putts and gave myself lots of opportunities. I’ve not been playing too great but I’m not surprised with my round today.”
Elsewhere, Frenchman Raphael Marquery went round in four-under-par, while Irish duo Kevin Phelan and Gavin Moynihan reached the clubhouse at two-under-par.
Mark Young, who qualified for the Open at Gailes Links last year, went round in one-under-par but was disappointed with how it went – despite being well inside the top ten.
“Not really ,” he said. “I missed a lot of good chances inside 10ft and I was two-under-par at the turn. I felt it should’ve been at least four-under. The course is softer and playing a bit longer in places but it’s immaculate.”