Colin Montgomerie last night hailed Lee Westwood's long overdue return to form after the first round of the Volvo Scandinavian Masters.
Montgomerie compiled a six-under-par 66 at Barseback but was, if anything, more pleased to see Westwood, his playing partner, fire a 67, his first sub-70 round in 17 attempts and lowest for two months.
"It's super for him after his problems recently," the Scot said. "It could have been a lot lower so good luck to him."
Anthony Wall held a three-shot lead after a brilliant nine-under-par 63, one shot outside the course record, with Montgomerie sharing second place alongside Darren Clarke, Soren Hansen, of Denmark, and the Swede Peter Hedblom.
Westwood was another shot behind in a group of seven players that included the Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, and Warren Bennett, who lost out to Bernhard Langer in a play-off for the Dutch Open on Sunday.
Westwood has failed to repeat last season's stunning form, when he collected seven tournament wins worldwide on the way to ending Montgomerie's seven-year reign as European No 1. The 28-year-old from Worksop has already failed in the defence of three of his five European Tour titles this season.
The world No 9 missed the cut in four of his last six events and did so by nine shots last week, finishing joint 144th of 156 starters in the Dutch Open. The long break he took around the birth of his first child, Samuel, in April, and moving to a new house, were widely blamed for his slump in form and Westwood conceded on Wednesday that he had also been his "own worst enemy" on the course.Reuse content