Montgomerie on the right track

Without the aid of electronic enhancement, you would not have heard Colin Montgomerie at all. The more he was drowned out by the crashing canvas of the press centre, the bigger his smile became. "The breeze is picking up," he said. "The scores will rise. I'm glad I took advantage.''

Conditions were not as easy as when Montgomerie broke the course record here with a 64 in the opening round of last year's Scottish Open, giving his two-under 70 yesterday equal value in his opinion. "It was important not to drop a shot and that fact makes it as good a round as last year's," Montgomerie said. It put him at the top of the leaderboard alongside Ian Woosnam.

After last week, when he battled amateur photographers but went on to win the Irish Open, Montgomerie is determined to be happy in his workplace. Carnoustie, which will host the Open again after a 24-year break in 1999, got full marks. "The course is in the best condition for a links I have ever witnessed. It is as good as any on the Open rota, if not the best of the lot. Nothing detrimental could be said about it. It is a true championship test.''

Woosnam, who bogeyed the last two holes, could not wholly concur, voicing his usual complaint about the bunkers. "This does not seem like links sand," he said. Wayne Riley, who shot a 74 in the defence of his title, was more irritated by the people who went in the bunkers. At the last, his ball finished in a hoofprint in a greenside bunker and after playing out, he launched his club at the bunker face. Then the Australian launched into an attack on those players whose bagperson is more their partner in life than in golf, describing them as "pathetic people with pathetic caddies". "The raking was an absolute disgrace," he added.

It was a fairway trap that caught Woosnam's three-wood tee-shot at the last. "I nearly shanked it," he said. After a year with the coach Bill Ferguson, his driving still remains a problem. It took Ferguson 20 minutes on Tuesday evening to sort out that part of Montgomerie's game. "He told me to hit it, to make a positive pass at the ball. I was steering it.''

Scores under par were a rarity and that Carl Mason shot 72 was due to dropping three shots in the last two holes. Mason, the winner two years ago at Gleneagles, hurt his back in March getting out of his car and 12 weeks ago had a slow-release epidural injection. "It is meant to last 12 weeks and I hope the problem has cured itself in that time," Mason said. "For three weeks I could not walk more than 20 yards, and I didn't play golf for five weeks, the longest spell in my life."

None of the visiting Americans finished under par, especially not the amateur Tiger Woods, who shot 81. The man who finished fourth as an amateur last year, Gordon Sherry, had to withdraw before his round after physiotherapy for a pulled neck muscle failed and he was unable to swing a club. "This is a horrendous thing to happen, this week of all weeks," Sherry said. He is hoping the problem will clear up in time for him to play in the Open qualifying at Formby on Sunday.

SCOTTISH OPEN (Carnoustie) Leading first-round scores: (GB or Irl unless stated): 70 C Montgomerie, I Woosnam. 71 J Rivero (Spain), P Lawrie, D J Russell, R Allenby (Aus), P Broadhurst. 72 M Mackenzie, J Townsend (US), J Coceres (Arg), R Claydon, P Goydos (US), B Estes (US), D Borrego (Sp), S Richardson, P Moloney (Aus), C Mason, A Collison. 73 R Drummond, K Eriksson (Swe), S Cage, P Senior (Aus), M Roe, P O'Malley (Aus), L Westwood. 74 T Gogele (Ger), D Gilford, W Riley (Aus), S Ames (Trin), D Feherty, M James, D Cooper, R Boxall, O Karlsson (Swe), M McLean, P Price, S Grappasonni (It), J Parnevik (Swe), G Brand Jnr, A Coltart, P Baker, S Tinning (Den). 75 M Hallberg (Swe), D Smyth, D Hospital (Sp), R Goosen (SA), D Curry, A Tait, C Suneson (Sp), N Briggs, R Karlsson (Swe), P Mitchell, P McGinley, P Sjoland (Swe), G Emerson. Selected: 76 S Torrance, C Rocca (It). 82 S Bottomley,

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£17447 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is a leading centre fo...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Sales Apprentice

£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £20,000 - £60,000

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
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