Montgomerie blown off course in hitting 81

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie matched his worst round in Europe for five years with a second-round 81 at the Spanish Open in windy Girona. Europe's new Ryder Cup captain, who has not had a top-10 finish since he was runner-up in the French Open last June, tumbled out at halfway with a 36-hole total of 153, nine over par.

That put Montgomerie near the rear of the 150-strong field. He had sought a late invitation to the event after pulling out of last week's tournament in South Korea to have a second cortisone injection on his right hand.

The 45-year-old Scot has already fallen to 160th in the world rankings and is likely to drop even further. Montgomerie also had an 81 in last season's British Masters at The Belfry, but his last round in Europe higher than that was an 82 in the 2004 European Open at The K Club in Ireland.

Resuming on level par he had two birdies, four bogeys and then a double bogey to turn in 41, recorded three more bogeys early on the back nine and finished with another double bogey six. American John Daly, currently serving a six-month US tour ban and playing his first event since December, also had to tackle the swirling conditions, but battled to a 72 and is 11 adrift of leader Thomas Levet. The former Open champion conceded: "It was brutal. There wasn't any hole where you could feel comfortable. But I'm getting the weekend in and getting to play some more."