Solid start for Montgomerie

7/12/2013 12:58:00 AM
Colin Montgomerie  (Getty Images)
Colin Montgomerie (Getty Images)
Scotsman Colin Montgomerie made a good start to his Senior Major career, finishing the first round of the US Senior Open Championship two shots off the lead.

Montgomerie, who turned 50 last month, carded three birdies and two bogeys in a one under par 69 at Omaha Country Club.

That left the eight-time European Number One just two behind the seven Americans tied for the lead. Mike Allen, Jay Don Blake, Fred Funk, Gary Hallberg, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara and Kenny Perry all compiled opening rounds of 67.

"Tee to green, I didn't play very well," said Montgomerie. "I putted very well today. I had 26 putts, I think, which is good.

"I didn't drive the ball particularly well.  So I'm going right now to try to iron that out.  And if I can drive the ball well over the next three days, we'll hopefully contend.

"I'm encouraged by the fact I can score 69 and play indifferently tee to green. It's not far short of a US Open set-up, the ones that I have played over the years. It's a very demanding test, tee to green.  It's a demanding test off the tee, plus demanding second shots off the greens and demanding around the greens. It's not just a mental test, it's a physical test as well.

"And the standard of golf, I've found over here, is very, very high." 

German Bernhard Langer birdied two of his last five holes to be part of a four-man group on two under, with Argentina’s Eduardo Romero among those alongside Montgomerie.

Langer, who won the tournament in 2010, said: "In the first few rounds, it's just a matter of not losing the tournament. You don't win it the first round or the second round, but you can lose it by shooting a high number. So it's just a matter of playing smart and staying in contention and hopefully turning it on on the weekend.

"I was a little bit up and down.  I had a bad start - I hit a poor tee shot on the tenth and made bogey, and that was my first hole. Then I made another bogey and was two over after about four holes, but I played very solidly from there on in." 

Defending champion Roger Chapman left himself plenty of work to do, the Englishman carding a four over par 74.