Colin Montgomerie still dogged by putting problems

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie came to Girona looking for his old winning touch and his lost touch on the greens in Girona, Spain.

And in the first round of the $938,000 Spanish Open the Scot shot a 67 in what he called "perfect start."

But in Saturday's second round his fragile putting came back to haunt him in a one-under-par 71 which left him six under overall at 138.

This left Montgomerie a precarious leader of the early finishers but bitter about missed opportunities.

The score was no reward for a vintage long-game display.

"At a conservative estimate, very conservative, that was worth a 65 or a 66," Montgomerie said.

"It was the same old problem. I just couldn't get it in from six, seven, five, four, feet."

Montgomerie had 33 putts in his round. But he converted only 4 of thirteen putts from 12 feet or less, three of them for birdies.

"Obviously I hit the ball well otherwise," a weary Montgomerie said. "Now all I can do is spend an afternoon practicing. Working to get back into contention. Today was a day for gaining ground. I didn't do it."

Montgomerie's temporary caddie Peter Coleman, on loan from Bernhard Langer who is a veteran survivor of three attacks of the yips, then lugged seven models of putter to the practice area.

"And I thought," the long-suffering Coleman said, "that I was having a week off from all this with 'Monty'."

New Zealand's Stephen Scahill shot 69 to finish level with Montgomerie on 138 and Scotland's Andrew Coltart also fired a 69 to pull up temporarily into third slot a shot back at 139.

A 69 from former Masters champ Ian Woosnam saw him through the cut at 142 but current and former Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance and Mark James both crashed out.

James had a 76 for a six-over total of 150 and Torrance's 75 left him at 151.

Severiano Ballesteros missed his fifth straight cut in five events this year with a 75 for 150.