Tuesday 26 September 2017

Monty's design monster comes back to haunt him

Karl MacGinty

THERE was a hint of Dr Frankenstein about course designer Colin Montgomerie's 72 at the Royal Golf Club Bahrain yesterday.

The Scot was 'monstered' by one of the holes he created, racking up a triple-bogey seven at the 402-yard sixth, which left him on level-par and in 67th place overall.

His problems began when he pulled his tee shot at six deep into the desert, the ball coming to rest behind a 10-foot sand hillock.

Monty's second hit the mound and rolled back down the slope. His third landed in the rough; his fourth in a dry wadi on the right and then he hit a splendid 130-yard shot straight at the pin, his ball stopping 16 feet short.

The severely sloping greens here have earned Monty a royal teasing from Tour colleagues and the putting surface at the sixth is so extreme, the official tournament programme says it "pitches and rolls like a heavy ocean swell".

The 2010 Ryder Cup captain might have felt seasick as his first putt lipped out. He tapped in for seven and certainly wasn't in the best of form afterwards, declining TV and other media interviews.

New Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot six at the same hole, while his fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano matched Monty's seven.

Peter Lawrie, Ireland's best in a share of 14th on four-under, frustratingly dropped two shots on the final three holes of his first-round 68.

Ironically, one of Lawrie's best shots, a punched five-wood tee shot into the growling gale at the 220-yards 16th, was followed by an infuriating three-putt from 20 feet.

Like Monty, Darren Clarke wasn't in talkative mood either after "leaving a lot of shots out there" on his way to a 69 in idyllic morning weather.

Unfortunate Tano Goya was penalised a total of four strokes for a rules breach when, on the fourth tee, his caddie handed him an older Titleist of different compression from the one he started with.

The Argentinian incurred two two-stroke penalties for using it on four and five and ended-up signing for a one-over 73.

Irish Independent

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