Montgomerie finds it tough after highs of Ryder Cup

Famously, now, there was no scoreboard at the 18th green at Oakland Hills so Colin Montgomerie had no idea his putt was for the Ryder Cup.

Famously, now, there was no scoreboard at the 18th green at Oakland Hills so Colin Montgomerie had no idea his putt was for the Ryder Cup. Of course not. A few days on and Monty was back on the Duke's course here and the message at the top of the scoreboard by the 18th read: "Well done, Europe." Below was the list of leaders in the first round of the Heritage tournament and Montgomerie's name was not among them. Nevertheless, the Scot's 30-foot putt across the green from the fringe found the cup and the smattering of hardy British golf fans applauded politely.

With a birdie at the 17th and this eagle at the last, Montgomerie finished with a one-under 71. "Well, it was a good finish," he said. "I'm quite tired, as you have possibly heard from the other Ryder Cup players. The atmosphere was slightly different from last week. It was difficult to get going."

David Howell also had a 71 and Padraig Harrington a 72, but Ian Poulter, at his home club, a 77. "The gas tank was empty," Poulter said. "I have a dull head right now, whether it was the jetlag or one glass of champagne too many on Sunday night, it all added up to a rubbish score." Harrington admitted he was not sharp either, in contrast to this time two years ago when he won the tournament immediately after the Ryder Cup at The Belfry. Some kind words from Harrington helped Graeme McDowell get over his defeat in Cologne a fortnight ago.

Having a week to stew on his loss might not have been the best thing for McDowell but Harrington had indicated he expected the Ulsterman to be at the K Club in 2006. McDowell watched every moment from Oakland Hills and then found himself grouped with Monty and Thomas Bjorn, one of the assistant captains last week.

"It was a bit surreal at the start," McDowell said. "Everyone was very relaxed and I was talking to Colin and Thomas about the Ryder Cup. I wanted to know all about it." It might have been why McDowell managed to take a double-bogey at the first after a perfect drive. But six birdies on the back nine helped to put him into a share of the lead at five under with Jose Manuel Lara, a friend of Sergio Garcia from Valencia who was in text contact with his fellow Spaniard last week, and the Brighton-based Australian Nick O'Hern, who was in no doubt he was cheering on Europe.

Among those who were one stroke behind was Nick Dougherty, the former Nick Faldo protégé, whose 68 was only the third time he has broken 70 in the opening round all season.

Dougherty was a member of the 2001 Walker Cup team along with McDowell and Luke Donald. He was the rookie of the year in 2002 as a 20-year-old but his Order of Merit positions have been sinking since then. He only secured his card for next year by finishing sixth in Germany a fortnight ago, but there is far more to the story.

It was the caddies who christened Dougherty, "George", as in Best. There was not a party he was not at. "I lived the life of Riley," he said. "I was 19, 20, 21 years old and it was fun. It had been quiet at home, my old man was quite strict.

"Suddenly, it was all new and I had money and I liked it far too much. My friends away from golf, it's different, the weekend comes and it's party time. If there was something going on, I didn't like to miss out.

"Lots of people said stuff to me but it almost drove me to do the opposite. It was stubbornness, I suppose, but I had to make my own mistakes. It got to the point where I was pleased just to finish 60th on the Order of Merit. But that was only because of one second place in Sweden.

"It made me feel sick, knowing how I was wasting everything. My family had done so much for me and I didn't appreciate that. I needed a kick up the arse."

A new work ethic, a new swing courtesy of David Leadbetter and a new attitude after sessions with a hypnotherapist are at last paying dividends.

THE HERITAGE (Woburn) Leading early first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated, (x) denotes amateur): 67 J M Lara (Sp), N O'Hern (Aus), G McDowell. 68 N Dougherty, R Russell, R Jacquelin (Fr), J Moseley (Aus), P Sjoland (Swe), P Price. 69 M Foster, H Stenson (Swe), J-F Lucquin (Fr), J Elson. 70 M Fraser (Aus), S Wakefield, M Ilonen (Fin), R Coles, C Rodiles (Sp), S Hansen (Den), B Dredge. 71 D Park, C Rocca (It), P Senior (Aus), B Lane,

J-F Remesy (Fr), M Maritz (SA), R Karlsson (Swe), D McGrane, T Bjorn (Den), C Montgomerie, P Lima (Fr). 72 D Dixon, S Kjeldsen (Den), P Lawrie, P Harrington, A Hansen (Den), P Lawrie, R Rashell (US), M Roe, W Ormsby (Aus). 73 M Olander (Swe), M Lafeber (Neth), D Lynn, S Lyle, G Emerson, T Immelman (SA), S Khan, I Pyman, M A Martin (Spa), M Vibe-Hastrup (Den), (x) J Heath, C Wittenberg (US), D Gilford, P Golding, R Rock, M Wigele (Aut), D Carter, S Fernandez (Arg). 74 P Fulke (Swe), G Owen. 75 D Borrego (Spa), J M Arruti (Sp), R Muntz (Neth), R Sterne (SA), S Drummond, P Hedblom (Swe), M Lemesurier, S Gallacher, S Luna (Sp), G Orr, F Delamontagne (Fr), C Cevaer (Fr). 76 P Fowler (Aus), E Canonica (It), J Spence, R-J Derksen (Den), S O'Hara, B Mason, M Hazelden, Z Scotland, S Dyson, F Andersson (Swe), J Bickerton, S Dodd, G Havret (Fr), A Coltart. 77 Ian Poulter, Matthew Cort, Alan McLean, Michael Jonzon (Swe). 78 J Clement (Swi), J Hepworth, E Little, S Webster, C Gane, B Davis. 80 I Giner (Sp). 82 A Lovelace. Retired: M Brier (Aut).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions