With respect to Nick Dougherty, riding high on the top of the Wales Open leaderboard on five-under, this first day was always going to be all about the respective performances of the two Ryder Cup captains. In that respect, Europe will feel that Colin Montgomerie fired the first shot in the 2010 battle as Corey Pavin, "Mr Desert Storm" himself, ended up lost in a Welsh jungle.
This three-shot "win" might just have represented a moral victory for the home captain, and most will venture a pretty meaningless one at that, but it is fair to say that Monty enjoyed it, despite his claims after his 69 that he did not once look for his counterpart's score.
Montgomerie asked the organisers not to pair him with Pavin – perhaps mindful that his opposing number had shot six sub-70s in his last eight against his own record of one in his last seven – and before going out he said: "It won't make any difference to the Ryder Cup but Corey and I will be checking out each other's scores, of course we will. Whoever plays best this week will feel their one-up. All I'm concentrating on, however, is putting four good rounds together."
Following a one-over 72, Pavin announced that his sole mission "is to make sure I'm here for the weekend" and in the pursuit of that the 49-year-old will certainly wish for no repeat of his experience at the 15th. A tee-shot that in his words "was very, very poor" went "way right" as he tried to drive the par-four green and plopped into grass so long that he could not even find it. "I can't even remember the last time I lost a ball in competitive play, apart from in water," said Pavin. Count on Montgomerie having the rough just as high when the teams slug it out here in 16 months' time.
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