Golf: Monty at sixes and sevens after his 64

Tim Glover pursues `Mr Consistency' across the Burma Road but not even a near course record can raise a smile
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The Independent Online
Colin Montgomerie usually goes into the US Open in June with a couple of notches on his belt but something is amiss with Mr Consistency. Even after a 64 yesterday, a stroke outside the course record for the Burma Road, Big Monty was not over the moon. Indeed, he sounded confused.

"I'd rather have two rounds of 70 than do what I did," Monty said. "I lost it on Sunday. That was very poor for someone of my calibre."

In the third round Montgomerie, who was partnered with Nick Faldo, shot 76. Faldo had a nose-bleed. "He shouldn't pick it so much," Montgomerie said.

Yesterday Montgomerie played with Roger Chapman and, in their own ways, they represented a couple of bridesmaids. Chapman's distinction in joining the European tour's millionaires' club is that he has never won a tournament. Monty has won plenty but nothing in the major category. What is even more worrying is that he has won nothing this year.

He shot an 81 in the Masters at Augusta and threw in another 81 in the Benson & Hedges International at the Oxfordshire. And he is 10 years older than the Tiger.

Wentworth has not been the happiest hunting ground for Montgomerie. If the Volvo PGA Championship, with a purse of pounds 1.1m, is the Tour's flagship, Monty, as the winner of the Order of Merit for the last four years, is the Ark Royal. But he has never won the PGA (he was beaten in a play-off by Seve Ballesteros in 1991) but this one seemed to have his name on it.

"It's a course I should have won on by now," he said. He came here after a successful run in the European leg of the Andersen Consulting World Championship at The Buckinghamshire in Denham. That got him into the semi- finals which will be played in America in the new year and earned him a minimum of pounds 200,000.

As for the Burma Road, the fairways were tighter and the rough rougher. In short, it's a set-up in a contrasting style to the build of the Scotsman - not wide and generous but with holes looking more like an hour-glass. And that is exactly how Monty likes it.

Regarded as one of the most accurate drivers in the game, he hardly hit a fairway on Sunday. Yesterday, resuming nine shots adrift of Ian Woosnam, he had eight birdies and reckoned he could have scored 60. On all the par-fives bar the 18th, he had genuine chances for eagles. At the 571- yard 17th he hit three-wood, three-wood to within 15 feet of the flag but missed the putt.

"For the past nine years my game has been based on being consistent," Monty said. "Scoring 76-64 is not consistent, so something is not quite right. I had a good chat to myself about what has gone wrong. I have not got off the ground at all this year. I have been stuttering my way through tournaments. Hopefully I can take this forward and not stutter from now on. The best way I play golf is not thinking about things and playing each shot as it comes. I think I have become bogged down by technique."

Last year Montgomerie left his coach, Bill Ferguson, and has been consulting Denis Pugh, a former disciple of David Leadbetter. "I might not use him as much," Monty said. "Don't get me wrong, he's a good coach but maybe I don't need one. I can do it myself."

After investing a lot of his income in a new mansion in Surrey (he's not sure whether it's got nine bedrooms or 10), it might pay Monty to become adept at DIY.

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