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Montgomerie shines in 500th event

FIRST ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-6 C Doak (Sco) -5 J Parron (Spa), C Montgomerie (Sco), J Lucquin (Fra), S O'Hara (Sco) -4 S Dodd (Wal), T Bjorn (Den), M Siem (Ger), A Coltart (Sco), G Fdez-Castano (Spa), S Kjeldsen (Swe)

Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie was presented with a commemorative ice bucket

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie fired a five-under 67 for a share of second after day one of the Andalucia Open, his 500th European Tour event.

The 45-year-old, now ranked 137th, had four birdies in his first six holes and despite a bogey after finding the lake at his seventh, added a further three.

Two others were also five under but 31-year-old Scotsman Chris Doak took the first-round lead after a bogey-free 66.

"It was a nostalgic day, thinking about all sorts of things," Montgomerie said.

Montgomerie is the 18th player to reach 500 tournaments and boasts an impressive 182 top-10 finishes.

The last of those was when he finished runner-up to Pablo Larrazabal at the French Open last June, but he said: "I'd like to get to 200. I'm busier than ever, but I'm still competitive enough to be able to contend."

Montgomerie, who started his round at the 10th, was in good touch with the belly putter after his watery six at the 16th, holing from 15 and 30 feet on the 18th and first for birdies and adding an 18-footer for a par at the second.

Asked what he was thinking about during his round he said: "My three PGA wins, eight Order of Merits, how far I've walked [all the way to Hong Kong] and being Ryder Cup captain.

"I've thought about that every minute of every day since I was appointed. People say that being captain will hurt my game, but I think exactly the opposite. I've been looking for ways to relax on the course and I think I've found it.

"That's three tournaments in a row with a 67. Things are looking up."

Another Tour stalwart, Miguel Angel Jimenez, also aged 45, did not fare so well, carding three successive bogeys in a round of 74, while compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal matched him after a mixed bag containing two double bogeys.

Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Bjorn reached six under after eight birdies in his first 16 holes, but he finished with two bogeys and had to settle for a 68.

Instead the first day honours went to Glasgow-born Doak, who gained his Tour card last November with his seventh attempt at the Tour school.

World ranked 1,329th, Doak was the Scottish PGA's number one player in 2008, and has earned the right to play in the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

He first appeared on the European Tour in 2005 when he tied for 33rd at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, and he also played in three events in 2007, with a best position of joint 65th.

This season he has played in four tournaments, making the cut in only one, The Johannesburg Open, in which he finished tied 65th.



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see also
Casey backs Montgomerie captaincy
29 Jan 09 |  Golf
Monty to lead Europe at Ryder Cup
28 Jan 09 |  Golf
Monty's Ryder Cup career
31 Aug 08 |  Golf
Olazabal unsure of Ryder Cup role
25 Mar 09 |  Golf
Golf leaderboard
16 Jul 09 |  Golf


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