Ramsay's rich run leads Caledonian charge as Monty stays positive

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The Independent Online

Yet, after a 68, it is the 25-year-old amateur who lives at home with Mum and Dad, Ann and Dave, 12 miles away across the Tay in Carnoustie, who leads the Caledonian charge.

It was some riposte after Ramsay missed out on selection for Britain's Walker Cup side.

Ramsay, who won the Australian Amateur Championships this year, also leads the race for the silver medal awarded to the leading amateur. The man who led qualifying at Leven Links played in company with the Ryder Cup combatant Chris Riley of America and Spain's Ignacio Garrido.

Ramsay started nervously, with bogey fives at the second and fourth, three-putting on both occasions, but then embarked on a rich sequence, recording five consecutive threes from the sixth to the 10th. In addition, he finished the job well with birdies at three of the last five holes.

When asked to compare yesterday's galleries with those at the regionals at Renfrew, Ramsay came up with possibly his best stroke of the day. "A little different," he said. "There was no one at Renfrew."

Montgomerie lies three strokes further back following a hard-working retrieval mission. Immediate combustion looked a likely option for Monty when he thrashed his very first shot into the Swilken Burn. He had never visited this particular bad place before.

"God Almighty. It's the first time I've ever done that in 20 years of playing here," Montgomerie said. "The first time I've ever missed the fairway. It just got a big old bounce and ran out of room. It's an awful start to have a five at a hole which is a three and three-quarter hole."

In the circumstances, Montgomerie was rather cheered by a 71. "It's not a disaster," he said. "I've got a couple of things to work on for tomorrow. A couple of early birdies and suddenly you're three-under and can get going in a positive way."

To listen to Monty though was to hear from a man who almost seemed to be playing for second place already. "It's ominous who's on top of the board [Woods]," he said.

"Ominous. If there's a course built for him it's this one. He won by eight shots last time here and who says he won't do the same again?"

Lawrie, the last Scot, indeed the last European to win the Open championship when victorious at Carnoustie in 1999, shot a level-par 72, while Lyle rather soiled a decent round by taking seven at the Road Hole.

He was level par to that point, but a birdie at the last brought him back to a two-over 74.

"I hit a terrible tee shot and lost it to the right," Lyle said. "I was trying to keep it tight right because of where the pin was and hit a bad shot out of bounds.

"I hit my fourth shot onto the 18th tee, which is not too bad from there, and chipped to three feet and missed the putt. So that was a quick seven. Other than that I played OK.

"Obviously the course is longer, but it's playing shorter because of the run on the fairways. I would have hoped to be around the 70 mark and I was on track for most of the day but I couldn't buy birdie putts."