Humbled Montgomerie misses cut

Colin Montgomerie missed his first cut for two years yesterday as his second round 74 in the BMW International Open compounded a miserable two days for the European No 1.

Colin Montgomerie missed his first cut for two years yesterday as his second round 74 in the BMW International Open compounded a miserable two days for the European No 1.

Without Montgomerie to worry about, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn hit the front with an exhilarating nine-under-par 63, but all the talk on the Nord-Eichenried course was of "Mr Consistency" flying home for the weekend.

Montgomerie's total of 146, after a round that included five bogeys, meant his absence from the last two rounds by a five-stroke margin. The Scot had arrived aiming to capture the £140,000 first prize in his campaign to catch the absent Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke at the top of the Order of Merit.

The defending champion blamed his failure on the two-stroke penalty received on Thursday for missing his start time. "The two-shot penalty shook me," admitted the world No 5, who would have missed the weekend by three even without the penalty shots. "I came here looking forward to defending my title but the penalty completely threw me for the two days. I'm proud of my record of making cuts and I don't come to tournaments to miss cuts, I come to win.

"It's been two years and I guess 60-odd tournaments without missing a cut, since here in Munich two years ago, oddly enough. I finished with a bogey yesterday and started with a three-putt today and shot a 74 when I came out anticipating a 66.

"It's very, very uncharacteristic," Montgomerie added. He had gone 36 tournaments in Europe without missing a cut, 55 worldwide.

At the top of the scoreboard, Bjorn again showed the form which took him to runner-up in the Open and third place in the USPGA Championship. Bjorn's flawless second round hauled him to 12-under-par 132, one better than Spain's Miguel Martin and the Irishman Padraig Harrington.

The Dane paid tribute to his veteran English coach Pete Cowen for his help in sculpting a more confident swing which has brought back the form which had earned him four European Tour titles in three years. Much like Nick Faldo did 15 years previously, Bjorn has worked on building a swing to stand up to pressure. But while Faldo took two years to perfect his, Bjorn has spent just two months. "I felt there was something missing from my game, some consistency. It all just clicked in quickly and my driving has improved dramatically," Bjorn said.

Martin's 66 was his best round of the year and achieved with an old set of clubs. Harrington's 66 for a 133 total is exactly the same as last year when he went into the weekend sharing the lead with Montgomerie before coming second to seal his Ryder Cup debut.

BMW International Open (Munich): Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 132 T Bjorn (Den) 69 63. 133 M A Martin (Sp) 67 66; P Harrington 67 66. 134 C Suneson (Sp) 67 67; T Levet (Fr) 67 67. 135 R Russell 67 68, S Hansen (Den) 67 68; J Senden (Australia) 70 65. 136 D Lee 66 70, B Lane 67 69, J Sandelin (Swe) 68 68, R Wessels (SA) 67 69, W Riley (Aus) 65 71, I Garrido (Sp) 67 69. Selected: 137 J Rose 68 69. 139 G Brand Jnr 71 68. 140 P Baker 71 69. 145 S Ballesteros (Sp) 72 73. 146 C Montgomerie 72 74. 151 R Rafferty 77 74.

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