Westwood and Montgomerie find form in France - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Westwood and Montgomerie find form in France

Lee Westwood is looking good to make amends this weekend for his recent US Open near-miss, and to give himself the perfect boost ahead of The Open. However, alongside him near the front of the field, halfway through the French Open at Le Golf National near Paris, is none other than Colin Montgomerie.

Six months into a year which has seen him fall out of the world's top 100 for the first time since 1990, Montgomerie birdied the final two holes of his second round to join Westwood on five under par, two shots behind the Spanish rookie Pablo Larrazabal.

Montgomerie hit a five-iron to four feet, then an eight-iron over water to seven feet to finish in real style. Asked about his chances of a 32nd European Tour win, he said: "Very good. If I can be patient I have a chance.

"I had 16 holes of utter, utter frustration and I hate to say the birdies were deserved, but the way I played that was the minimum I deserved. It was as good as I can play tee-to-green. It was back to the way I won tournaments."

Westwood has also been easy to spot on the opening two days. He was the one standing on the fairway while others disappeared into the hay.

"I don't think I've seen rough as bad as this since Carnoustie in 1999 – it's chest-high at points," said the former European No 1, who could be back at the top of the Order of Merit tomorrow night. He would have been there if he had won at Torrey Pines two weeks ago, rather than finishing one behind Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate.

"I'm constantly being told 'well played this week', but while that's great and nice to hear, sometimes you want to forget about it and concentrate on the French Open," he said. "It [the US Open] looks like a great result to everyone else [it was his best finish in a major], but at the same time it wasn't a win, so it is always in the back of your mind that you didn't win it."

Westwood has yet to lift a trophy this year, but his confidence is high and it went up another notch with his bogey-free second round here yesterday.

"I've managed to stay well away from the rough and that's the key around here," he said. "I'm all for long rough, but there are a couple of places where it is only four yards off the fairway. I think that's a bit severe, but with the course firm and bouncy it's almost like playing a links and great practice for The Open."

Larrazabal, a qualifier, is one in front after his opening 65 and a second round in which he stretched his lead to four before bogeys at the 16th and 17th for a 70.

"They are the big stars and I am the rookie," said the world No 481. "To know that I can play like them is great for me, very positive."

Last year's US Open champion, Angel Cabrera, was joint leader until he lost a ball on the 17th and double-bogeyed; Larrazabal's countryman Ignacio Garrido moved alongside him on seven under as well, before bogeying the 15th.

In Grand Blanc, Michigan, Corey Pavin, Bo van Pelt and Dudley Hart all got off to perfect starts at the Buick Open, hitting bogey-free eight-under 64s to share the first-round lead.

Pavin started in unspectacular style with four pars before catching fire and reeling off six birdies over the next eight holes to rocket up the leaderboard at a steamy Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club. Using a putter that had sat in his closet for more than 10 years, the former Ryder Cup player needed just 21 putts to record back-to-back rounds of 64 for the first time in 25 years on the PGA Tour. The 48-year-old journeyman also had a 64 on Sunday, in the final round of the Travelers in Connecticut.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week