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  Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Monty holds three shot advantage
Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie shot six birdies and an eagle
Colin Montgomerie set the early pace at The Open with a first round six-under-par 65 at Royal Lytham.

And despite the best efforts of a host of players the Scot will go into the second round with a three shot lead.

At one stage as many as seven players were gathered on three under alongside the early leader, America's Brad Faxon.

  Lytham leaderboard
Six under (65)
Colin Montgomerie
Three under (68)
Brad Faxon
Chris Dimarco
Mikko Ilonen
Two under (69)
16 players tied
But gradually, over the course of the difficult inward nine, players fell by the wayside to leave Faxon, his compatriot Chris Dimarco, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen, as Montgomerie's nearest challengers.

Reigning Open champion and the pre-tournament favourite Tiger Woods will resume six shots off the lead.

Woods opened with a birdie but like so many of the 156 starters, bar Montgomerie, he was unable to build any momentum around the Lancashire links.

Montgomerie also started with a birdie, another followed, and after dropping a shot at the fifth he chipped in for an eagle at the sixth - one of seven in the day at the first of two consecutive par fives.

A string of three birdies at the turn took Montgomerie into the lead, and although he dropped a shot with a bogey five at the 14th another birdie followed at the final hole, a 40 foot putt delighting the gallery.

Mikko Ilonan
Mikko Ilonan threatened Montgomerie's lead
However, as well as six putts for birdie, Montgomerie also profited from several important putts to save par, none more so than at the 15th when his effort dropped off the last roll of the ball.

Dimarco and Ilonen benefited from easing conditions in the evening and if Ilonen had matched Montgomerie's saves on the back nine he may have breached the three-shot gap between first and second.

But the Finn, who finished as the leading amateur at St Andrews 12 months ago, was pegged back by bogies at 14 and 17 in dwindling light at the end of a day that finished at 2130 BST - 14-and-a-half hours after Hidemichi Tanaka hit the first shot of the day.

In clearer conditions Jeff Maggert also closed to within two of the lead following an albatross two at the sixth.

The American became the fifth man in Open history to card an albatross but he hardly had time to celebrate the feat before his challenge faltered with a bogey at the seventh.

And Maggert, like Nick Faldo, Loren Roberts, Sandy Lyle and Jesper Parnevik before him, fell back from tied second through the difficult Lytham back nine - in Faldo's case well back.

After three successive birdies the three-time former Open winner endured a horror run of a double bogey and three bogies from the eighth and ended up with a four-over-par 75.

Tiger Woods takes a look from the rough
Tiger Woods remains favourite despite a first round 71
Parnevik finished the day tied fifth four shots off the lead in a group of 16 players that included the likes of David Duval, Miguel Angel Jiminez, Justin Rose, Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Woods ended even further adrift after making an indifferent start to the defence of his title.

The world number one suffered off the tee and his usually reliable putting also let him down.

The American finished the day on level par and he will have to improve his form if he is to become the first man since Tom Watson in 1983 to successfully defend the Claret Jug.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Rob Nothman
"Montgomerie has often cut a forlorn figure at The Open"
Spain's Sergio Garcia at one-under-par
"I held some great putts"
Colin Montgomerie
"I'm not one of the favourites"
Defending champion Tiger Woods
"I was grinding my butt off out there"
 LIVE WEBCASTS
Colin Montgomerie's six-under-par 65 sets the standard on the opening day at The Open.
Colin Montgomerie set the early pace at The Open with a first round six-under-par 65 at Royal Lytham. <P> And despite the best efforts of a host of players the Scot will go into the second round with a three shot lead. <P> At one stage as many as seven players were gathered on three under alongside the early leader, America's Brad Faxon. <P><CPS:BOX><CPS:FACTHEAD>Lytham leaderboard</CPS:FACTHEAD><CPS:FACT><B>Six under</B> (65)<BR>Colin Montgomerie</CPS:FACT><CPS:FACT><B>Three under</B> (68)<BR>Brad Faxon<BR>Chris Dimarco<BR>Mikko Ilonen</CPS:FACT><CPS:FACT><B>Two under</B> (69)<BR>16 players tied</CPS:FACT></CPS:BOX> But gradually, over the course of the difficult inward nine, players fell by the wayside to leave Faxon, his compatriot Chris Dimarco, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen, as Montgomerie's nearest challengers. <P> Reigning Open champion and the pre-tournament favourite Tiger Woods will resume six shots off the lead. <P> Woods opened with a birdie but like so many of the 156 starters, bar Montgomerie, he was unable to build any momentum around the Lancashire links. <P> Montgomerie also started with a birdie, another followed, and after dropping a shot at the fifth he chipped in for an eagle at the sixth - one of seven in the day at the first of two consecutive par fives. <P> A string of three birdies at the turn took Montgomerie into the lead, and although he dropped a shot with a bogey five at the 14th another birdie followed at the final hole, a 40 foot putt delighting the gallery. <P><CPS:IMAGE ORDER="3"></CPS:IMAGE> However, as well as six putts for birdie, Montgomerie also profited from several important putts to save par, none more so than at the 15th when his effort dropped off the last roll of the ball. <P> Dimarco and Ilonen benefited from easing conditions in the evening and if Ilonen had matched Montgomerie's saves on the back nine he may have breached the three-shot gap between first and second. <P> But the Finn, who finished as the leading amateur at St Andrews 12 months ago, was pegged back by bogies at 14 and 17 in dwindling light at the end of a day that finished at 2130 BST - 14-and-a-half hours after Hidemichi Tanaka hit the first shot of the day. <P> In clearer conditions Jeff Maggert also closed to within two of the lead following an albatross two at the sixth. <P> The American became the fifth man in Open history to card an albatross but he hardly had time to celebrate the feat before his challenge faltered with a bogey at the seventh. <P> And Maggert, like Nick Faldo, Loren Roberts, Sandy Lyle and Jesper Parnevik before him, fell back from tied second through the difficult Lytham back nine - in Faldo's case well back. <P> After three successive birdies the three-time former Open winner endured a horror run of a double bogey and three bogies from the eighth and ended up with a four-over-par 75. <P><CPS:IMAGE ORDER="2"></CPS:IMAGE> Parnevik finished the day tied fifth four shots off the lead in a group of 16 players that included the likes of David Duval, Miguel Angel Jiminez, Justin Rose, Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal. <P> Woods ended even further adrift after making an indifferent start to the defence of his title. <P> The world number one suffered off the tee and his usually reliable putting also let him down. <P> The American finished the day on level par and he will have to improve his form if he is to become the first man since Tom Watson in 1983 to successfully defend the Claret Jug. <P>

Launch The Open Leaderboard

Tiger Woods - hole-by-hole details
Woods' round in detail

The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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