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Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 19:18 UK

Monty eyes homecoming boost

Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie has had a lean year on the European Tour

By Liam McLeod
BBC Scotland at the Scottish Open

The golfing spotlight is pointing firmly at Scotland this fortnight as the greats descend upon the game's birthplace.

With the Open returning to Turnberry after a 15-year hiatus, the glorious setting of Loch Lomond once again provides the support act.

And as 22 of the world's top 50 players turn out on the Bonnie Banks, one man nowhere near that lofty position at the moment is looking to turn around his fortunes.

Colin Montgomerie has had a tortuous year and currently occupies 84th spot in the European Tour Race To Dubai.

Missed cut here, missed major championship there - it has so far been another 12 months to forget for the man who has 31 European Tour tournament wins to his name.

Ten years ago, the 46-year-old triumphed at Loch Lomond - something that was followed a week later by compatriot Paul Lawrie's never-to-be-forgotten Open victory on the windswept links of Carnoustie.

What are the chances of a repeat - a decade on - of at least one of those successes?

There will be 13 home players in the Scottish Open field - and Montgomerie reckons good times lie ahead for Scottish golf.

I'm a very positive person and I know the course at Loch Lomond better than anybody

Colin Montgomerie

"I think it's just a cyclicle thing," a relaxed Monty told the media on the eve of the tournament.

"There's nothing to worry about. I think we've got some good talent coming through.

"There's a number of Scots that are getting into position over the first couple of days and just not finishing it off, but that comes with experience.

"I don't think you'll be questioning the problems with Scottish golf in three to four years."

Despite not achieving a top-10 finish in the year that has passed, the man who won an unprecedented eighth Order of Merit title in 2005 showed signs of promise when finishing in a tie for 13th at the French Open last weekend.

And next year's European Ryder Cup captain maintains he can still challenge at the very top.

"This is a very important two weeks for me, I'm very keen to do well," he added. "I'm going to do all I can to get into contention here and at The Open.

"I'm a very positive person and I know the course at Loch Lomond better than anybody."

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Indeed, Monty celebrated his wedding to Gaynor Knowles at the stunning venue in April 2008, playing the eighth hole with each of his golfing guests.

No prizes for guessing the first hole he bogeyed at last year's event.

"My putting's coming back although I'm still making too many mistakes," he added. "But I had 19 birdies and an eagle last week which was more than any of the players that got into the play-off.

"However, I made 16 mistakes which is far, far too many. Six is too many never mind 16."

Montgomerie has never won a major but has finished runner-up on four occasions, including the 2005 Open at St Andrews where he trailed Tiger Woods by five shots.

And despite being just four years off the seniors circuit, he remains confident he can break his duck.

"I'll never forget my round of golf with Tiger on the Saturday in 2005 - mainly because I beat him," he said gleefully.

"The fans were fantastic and because this year's in Ayrshire and because that's home for me down at Turnberry, I just hope to be in the position to give the crowd something to shout about.

"There are a few Scots in the field - more than we've had recently - and lets hope one of us can get into contention."



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see also
McDowell set for Loch Lomond test
08 Jul 09 |  Golf
Laird relishes return to Scotland
08 Jul 09 |  Golf
Scottish brothers gain Open entry
07 Jul 09 |  Golf
Lyle upset by Cup captaincy snub
07 Jul 09 |  Golf


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