Montgomerie collywobbles at trick or treat 10

Bt Tim Glover

It is called the Seve Ballesteros hole because the Spaniard was the first player to drive the green at the par-four 10th on the Brabazon course here. That was in the days when the Ryder Cup was played without pitch invasions and Ballesteros could play.

Yesterday it could have been called the Halloween hole, for what was on offer was trick or treat; go for it or lay up short of the water. The dilemma was presented to the players in the third round of the Benson & Hedges International Open because they played off the forward tee.

In the first two rounds, when the hole measured 311 yards, there was no option. It was played as an orthodox par four with everyone laying up and pitching on to the green. Colin Montgomerie, the defending champion, did not think much of it on the first two days. Hitting a seven or an eight iron off the tee he complained: "What kind of a hole is that?"

He did not think much of it yesterday either, even though it had been shortened to 261 yards. When he stood on the 10th tee at two over par, he agonised over what club to use. He took out a wood and the crowd, packed around the amphitheatre of this gladiatorial hole, murmured approval in unison: "Monty's going for it."

Monty took yet another look at the target and murmured to himself: "This isn't right." He put the wood back in the bag and took out a wedge. The spectators should have said: "That's not right." If they had shortened the boundary at Headingley would Ian Botham have resisted the temptation?

What, perhaps, was even more inexplicable is that Jean Van de Velde, Monty's playing partner, also declined to pick up the gauntlet. Good grief, this is the man who 10 months ago could have laid up forever and still won the Open Championship at Carnoustie. Instead, of course, he threw caution to the wind and blew it big time.

Earlier in the week here a big-hitting specialist found the green at the 10th with a putter. Van de Velde, whose putter is called "Never Compromise", tamely accepted his four yesterday as did Monty.

In fact, most of the field took up the challenge in the spirit in which it was intended. The abbreviated hole has a green that is 42 yards long and, at its narrowest, is 10 yards wide. It has water in front and to the left, has three bunkers to the right and eight mature trees standing as if on sentry duty. The players walk on to the green over a little bridge. The carry to the front was 223 yards, requiring anything from a driver to a three iron.

There were two eagles, 29 birdies, 32 pars, 10 bogeys and one double bogey producing an average score of 3.716 and making it the third-easiest hole on the course, outside the third and 17th, both par fives. In general, who dared won. The chief beneficiaries were Peter Mitchell and Michael Campbell, who walked off with twos.

Mitchell's eagle, which helped him move up the leader board with a 67, came courtesy of a driver with which he faded the ball to within eight feet of the flag. It made him, with John Towers, one of the most popular men in the Midlands.

Stewards marshalling the green warned spectators: "Watch your heads!" when the competitors were on their back swing. It was sound advice. Jose Maria Olazabal attacked it with a three wood and was duly rewarded with a birdie but he does not know how lucky he was. His ball hit one of the trees on the right, took a kind bounce into a bunker and somehow skipped through the sand to finish on the fringe. By contrast Jonathan Lomas, his partner, hit a similar tee shot but his ball ricocheted further right and he ended up with a bogey five.

Immediately behind them Padraig Harrington opted for a wedge. His approach shot spun back out of light rough and ended up six feet from the flag. It was about the only putt the Irishman missed all day.

As for Ballesteros, who left The Belfry on Friday having missed the halfway cut by miles, it had been a wretched week all round. When he stood on the 10th tee he did not even have the satisfaction of seeing the plaque with his name on it that commemorates his feat 15 years ago. It had been stolen.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn