The Briton trailed Lee Janzen and Paul Stankowski, who shared the lead after five-under-par opening rounds on the new TPC at Heron Bay.
Janzen had at look at the new course, designed by another PGA Tour player, Mark McCumber, last month. "I was excited about coming here and playing. I thought it would be a fair test, even if the wind blows," Janzen said. The wind did blow during the first round, and scores were higher than expected on this flat course with no out of bounds and almost no water.
"There's more to this course than we first thought," Montgomerie said. "Suddenly the pins were tucked away and we were playing in tournament conditions. It was tough out there. I don't mind it blowing. In fact, what that does is take away the 63s and 62s, but it doesn't stop people from scoring 67s and 68s."
Janzen had his only bogey at the tough 18th hole. Playing it into the wind, the players produced an average score half a stroke above its par of four.
England's Van Phillips, wearing a tie and long-sleeved shirt because of a sponsorship deal, hit a five-under-par 67 to lie two strokes behind Australia's Peter O'Malley after the first round of the Portuguese Open at Aroeira.
n Ian Woosnam said yesterday that he may join Nick Faldo on the United States tour. Woosnam, winner of the Masters in 1991, is considering the switch because of sponsorship spin-offs. "For my sponsors to get more deals I must play in America," Woosnam said. "In Europe it is now difficult to get those deals."