The scores did rise, and by midday Montgomerie, who was in a tie for 85th place when he finished, was inside the cut line, although after his round of 75 -four over - Montgomerie said he was not sure if he deserved to make the cut.
He lost those four shots in ways that were hard to forgive. Starting on the back nine, he had a birdie at the 15th then a bogey at 16, missing a four-foot par putt. He had a double-bogey at the 17th, his three-iron tee shot on the par three slicing into the water some 50 yards from his target.
After turning to the front nine, Montgomerie made all his pars, except on the fifth and sixth holes, where he missed putts of two and a half feet for par. When the morning players had finished, the lead was nine under par, held by Mark O'Meara, who shot a 65. He led his fellow Americans Andrew Magee and Blaine McCallister by three strokes.
Nick Faldo, who began the day at four under par, was able to maintain his position on that figure through seven holes yesterday, having had a bogey at the second hole and a birdie at the third. Faldo was tied in fifth place with Mark Calcavecchia, also through seven holes, and Dan Forsman, who was the only afternoon player making any significant forward progress.
Forsman, best remembered for having the lead at the 11th hole at Augusta on Sunday in 1993 then putting two balls in the water at the 12th, picked up three birdies in the first six holes.
Among the other Europeans on the course, Seve Ballesteros was the only one moving forward, picking up a stroke after 11 holes to get to two under par. Ian Woosnam, who delighted himself on Thursday by shooting an unexpected 68, started playing to his original expectations yesterday, with bogeys on the second, fifth and sixth holes to drop to level par for the tournament.
HONDA CLASSIC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Leading first-round scores (US unless stated): 65 J McGovern. 66 M Calcavecchia. 67 N Faldo (GB), D Barr (Can). 68 I Woosnam (GB), M Wiebe, M Sullivan, M O'Meara, L Rinker. 69 C Montgomerie (GB), K Clearwater, S Rintoul (Aus), G Sauers, J Haas, B Claar, S Stricker, B Lohr, V Singh (Fiji), L Janzen, A Magee, K Fergus, M Dawson. Selected: 71 D Feherty (Irl).
Early leading second-round scores: 133 M O'Meara 68 65. 136 B McCallister 70 66; A Magee 69 67. 137 M Standly 71 66. 138 M McCumber 71 67. 139 B Claar 69 70; J McGovern 65 74; M Smith 72 67. 140 D Hammond 71 69; J Gallagher Jr 72 68; B Lohr 69 71; B Britton 71 69. Selected: 141 B Langer (Ger) 70 71. 144 C Montgomerie (Sco) 69 75. 145 J Parnevik (Swe) 72 73.