Montgomerie enjoys fruits of happiness
Saturday 05 February 2005
Colin Montgomerie insisted he had never been happier on or off the course after claiming a share of the halfway lead in the Heineken Classic here yesterday.
A rejuvenated Montgomerie, second in the defence of his Caltex Masters title in Singapore on Sunday, fired six birdies and no bogeys in a flawless 65 for a nine-under-par halfway total of 133. That was later matched by the in-form Australian Peter Lonard who recorded a 68, with South Africa's Trevor Immelman a shot behind on eight under alongside the 23-year-old Australian rookie Jarrod Lyle, who led with six holes to play, before falling to two late bogeys.
The defending champion Ernie Els was also back in contention after what he described as a "grinding 64", the world No 3 recovering from an opening 72 to finish three shots off the lead in his quest for a record-equalling fourth straight win.
Nick Faldo finished in style with birdies at the last two holes for an excellent 66, but at two over par missed the halfway cut by two shots.
Montgomerie won only once last season and needed a wild card from captain Bernhard Langer to play his starring role in the Ryder Cup. The 41-year-old Scot also went through a traumatic divorce from his wife of 14 years, Eimear, but painted a rosy picture of his new life.
"I've never been happier in my life, on or off the course, than right now," he said. "My golf is good, I'm happy at home, there is nothing that can affect me at this stage. I went to Dubai and had a great time there practising, I went to Singapore happy and finished second, and came down here and I'm leading, so you have to say that Monty's actually quite happy right now."
Els began the day one over par and in danger of missing the cut, but birdied three of the first five holes, and dropped just one shot. "I just wanted to make the cut, to be honest," he said. "I had a bit of work left to do and it was a good little pressure exercise. I just wasn't on my game [in the first round], I missed a lot of putts and was a bit out of sorts. I'm still struggling to hit the ball at the flags, I'm so used to bouncing them into the green.
"I've been coming here for five years and never seen the course so soft, it's tough to adjust to. But it was a good, grinding 64."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Pavement The Forum, London
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up