Gleneagles course will aid Ryder Cup hopes, says Montgomerie

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The Johnnie Walker Championship chairman Colin Montgomerie defended the Gleneagles Centenary course yesterday and insisted that familiarity with it would prove an asset to Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Montgomerie's Ryder Cup team-mate Darren Clarke had criticised the decision to hold the 2014 Cup on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Centenary course, which is hosting a European Tour event for a ninth successive year this weekend.

Clarke felt Europe's Ryder Cup committee should have chosen a traditional Scottish course for the match against the US, rather than the Centenary's "American-style" layout.

Muirfield, the Open course that hosted the 1973 Ryder Cup, Carnoustie, this year's Open venue, and Turnberry, were among the Scottish courses that lost out for the 2014 encounter.

After his second round yesterday at Gleneagles, Montgomerie said: "I'm convinced we won at Valderrama because we knew the course so well, also at the Belfry and last year at the K Club.

"We already know this course well and we have another seven years here. I think the course is getting better each year. I feel the course would stand up to any Ryder Cup.

"I wasn't on any committees to choose courses but this course is on a par [with recent Ryder Cup venues] if not an awful lot better."

On the course yesterday, Montgomerie had a stuttering 74 to finish six strokes off the lead, throwing in three sixes on his card, one of them a double bogey.

"I hit it short and crooked and that's a bad combination," he said.

Simon Wakefield goes into the third round on nine under par and the joint leader with France's Thomas Levet. They are one ahead of the Scot Marc Warren. "I feel more comfortable on Thursday and Friday," said Wakefield after his six-birdie display in the windy conditions.

"For some reason Saturday is always the day that I don't enjoy. It's moving day, but I tend to move the other way."

Levet, back playing well this season after seven months fearing for his future because of vertigo, birdied the last to join Wakefield with a 68.