Golf: Montgomerie enjoys fruits of happiness

COLIN MONTGOMERIE insisted he had never been happier on or off the course after claiming a share of the halfway lead in the Heineken Classic here yesterday.

A rejuvenated Montgomerie, second in the defence of his Caltex Masters title in Singapore on Sunday, fired six birdies and no bogeys in a flawless 65 for a nine-under-par halfway total of 133. That was later matched by the in-form Australian Peter Lonard who recorded a 68, with South Africa's Trevor Immelman a shot behind on eight under alongside the 23-year-old Australian rookie Jarrod Lyle, who led with six holes to play, before falling to two late bogeys.

The defending champion Ernie Els was also back in contention after what he described as a "grinding 64", the world No 3 recovering from an opening 72 to finish three shots off the lead in his quest for a record-equalling fourth straight win.

Nick Faldo finished in style with birdies at the last two holes for an excellent 66, but at two over par missed the halfway cut by two shots.

Montgomerie won only once last season and needed a wild card from captain Bernhard Langer to play his starring role in the Ryder Cup. The 41-year- old Scot also went through a traumatic divorce from his wife of 14 years, Eimear, but painted a rosy picture of his new life.

"I've never been happier in my life, on or off the course, than right now," he said. "My golf is good, I'm happy at home, there is nothing that can affect me at this stage. I went to Dubai and had a great time there practising, I went to Singapore happy and finished second, and came down here and I'm leading, so you have to say that Monty's actually quite happy right now."

Els began the day one over par and in danger of missing the cut, but birdied three of the first five holes, and dropped just one shot. "I just wanted to make the cut, to be honest," he said. "I had a bit of work left to do and it was a good little pressure exercise. I just wasn't on my game [in the first round], I missed a lot of putts and was a bit out of sorts. I'm still struggling to hit the ball at the flags, I'm so used to bouncing them into the green.

"I've been coming here for five years and never seen the course so soft, it's tough to adjust to. But it was a good, grinding 64."

Scores, Digest, page 64

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opening has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Join a worldwide leader in data-driven marketi...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn