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banner Friday, 20 July, 2001, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Monty takes cheer from crowds
Montgomerie received great support from the galleries
Montgomerie received great support from the galleries
Colin Montgomerie continues to lead the Open field after a determined second round score of 70 and believes he can clinch his maiden major with the help of Royal Lytham's huge and enthusiastic gallery.

"It's quite unbelievable, absolutely fantastic," enthused Montgomerie after a see-saw one under par round which took him to seven-under-par 135, a stroke ahead of Sweden's Pierre Fulke.

"The crowd was cheering so loudly and I hope they come out in their thousands again at the weekend and support me because they've certainly helped me cope.

"I've never had this before anywhere in the world. They possibly feel I should have won a major in my career because I've done everything else and see this as a golden opportunity for me."

I'm keeping my emotions intact and feel quite confident at this stage
  Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie sandwiched in three birdies in between two bogeys as he again saved well to reduce damage on occasional wayward shots and produced some delightful ironplay and solid putting.

"I got a couple of breaks and 70 is about what I deserved and it's nice to have an early start-time on Saturday for a change," continued the Scot.

"I'm experienced but this is all new territory for me. I've obviously won my orders of merit and I've been up there in other majors but this is different ground.

"But I'm keeping my emotions intact and feel quite confident at this stage."

Colin Montgomerie in the swing at Lytham
Monty in the swing at Lytham
There are a host of big name players not far behind and Monty is well aware that any slip-ups will be punished.

"Jesper Parnevik is my best challenger and of course you can't discount Tiger, especially with two rounds still to go," explained Montgomerie.

Parnevik is at five under par, while Woods is two shots further adrift.

"Of course we all have to keep an eye on Tiger because he's the best player in the world by some margin, he's at ease where he is as the defending champion and he's got nothing to prove," said Montgomerie.

"I'm happy he's behind but I'll be happier still if he's behind on Sunday night!"

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