Monty leads but bad run of putting turns smile into a scowl

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The Independent Online

What Montgomerie wanted on his 43rd birthday was to finish on a high note - and he failed to do that. Last Sunday, his hopes of a first major title were dashed by a closing double bogey in the US Open. He spoilt his opening round this week with a bogey six at the 18th, so when he three-putted for "only" a par five on his return to the course a worrying trend had not escaped his attention.

"I don't know what's going on there - it's very disappointing to finish badly again," he said. "That's the third round in a row. If I can't two-putt from 20 feet, there's something wrong. Did it tarnish the US Open? Of course it did. Did it tarnish yesterday? Yes. Did it tarnish today? Yes it did."

Montgomerie had to see the funny side, however, of his exchange with a small boy at the back of a grandstand by the 18th green. Backing off his chip brought the normal request for "Quiet, please" from his caddie, Alastair McLean. Some onlookers thought they heard the boy say "I need the toilet" but Montgomerie heard it as "You be quiet" and fell into laughter.

"Well, that's a new one," he said. "It's the first time I've actually been answered back by a two-year-old."