Golf: Forlorn figure Montgomerie

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The Independent Online
COLIN MONTGOMERIE, missing the half-way cut for the second week running and finishing his second round 16 shots behind the leader, Thomas Bjorn, was a forlorn figure at the BMW International Open yesterday.

Montgomerie, who shot 75 yesterday to finish with a three-over-par 147, had not missed two successive cuts since 1991 when he went out early at both the European Open at Walton Heath and the European Masters in Switzerland. But 1991 was the year in which he missed the cut eight times in 28 tournaments before he going on to become the greatest golfer on this side of the Atlantic.

Now, in the space of six weeks, the man who has been European No 1 for the past five years, has failed to qualify for the last two rounds in three of his last five tournaments. His bad run began at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and he also missed the cut at the European Open in Dublin last week.

After a round yesterday that included two double-bogeys and three bogeys, Montgomerie was man enough to talk briefly to the press but too confused to get his facts right. "I had 41 putts today, and that says it all," he said. Unfortunately the official statistics showed that he had only 35 putts.

Bjorn, who added a 67 to his first-round 64 for a 13-under-par aggregate of 131, has little doubt that Montgomerie will soon be back to his best. "You will not hold Colin down for a long time," said the Dane. "He is far too good a golfer for that."

Bjorn, in contrast to the burly Scot, was all smiles. He leads by three shots from Sven Struver, who had a 69 for 134, with Bernhard Langer in third place on 135 after a 67.

The 27-year-old Bjorn had six birdies in his 67 to add to nine on Thursday and looks set for a third European Tour triumph this year, with the Heineken Classic in Australia and the Spanish Open in Madrid already in the bag.

Seve Ballesteros showed a welcome return to form with an eight-birdie 66 for 138. But, while he and Bjorn were romping round, Justin Rose, the 18-year-old Hampshire prodigy, was missing the cut by a wide margin after a 79 for 149. He has missed the cut in all of his four European Tour events since turning professional following the Open Championship.