8am Round-Up: Colin Montgomerie playing ‘as well as I have all year’

Colin Montgomerie is in good fettle heading into the second of the Charles Schwab Cup Play-Offs in Virginia. Picture: AP
Colin Montgomerie is in good fettle heading into the second of the Charles Schwab Cup Play-Offs in Virginia. Picture: AP
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Colin Montgomerie reckons he’s playing his best golf of the year heading into the final two events in the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Play-Offs on the Champions Tour.

The big Scot was pipped by Tom Pernice jnr in California last weekend and has now moved on to Virginia, where the Dominion Charity Classic gets underway in Richmond today.

“The game is good, the game is strong,” Montgomerie told pgatour.com. “I look forward to try and emulate what we have been doing over the last month and a half here.

“It is a very English-type parkland golf course that I was brought up on in Yorkshire and I look forward to it.”

Montgomerie has recorded four top 10s in his last five events, which included a win in the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Canada.

“Things are going well,” he added. “It is the business end of the season and it is nice to come into that playing as well as I have all year.”

Montgomerie heads into the 54-hole event lying second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings behind Bernhard Langer, who has recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss last week’s PowerShares QQQ Championship.

“I look forward to playing with Bernhard on Friday and I hope he is fit enough to continue as we missed him last week,” said Montgomerie.

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Australian Rod Pampling missed out on a chance to join golf’s ‘59 Club’ when he parred the final two holes in the opening round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

The 47-year-old blazed to the turn at TPC Summerlin in 29, having made an eagle-2 at the sixth as well as four birdies.

He then picked up further shots at the 11th, 13th and 15th before moving to 11-under for the round with an eagle-3 at the long 16th.

However, Pampling left a 22-foot birdie putt short at then par-3 17th before also being unable to convert a 12-footer at the 18th.

In signing for a 60, he tied the course record to lead by two shots from American duo John Huh ands Brooks Koepka.

“The putt on 17 just fell short in the jaws and on 18 I gave myself a bad read,” said Pampling. “I thought it was straight, but it just had that little left to right.

“I’m glad I gave it a chance. It didn’t come up short. I just picked a bad line.”

Martin Laird, the 2009 winner, was two-under with two holes to play when play was suspended due to darkness.

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Catriona Matthew opened with a one-over-par 73 in the Toto Japan Classic in Ibaraki, where Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Korea’s Soo-Yun Kang set the pace with matching 66s.

Matthew is sitting just inside the top 50 after a round that finished with a double-bogey 6 after she’d earlier offset three bogeys with the same number of birdies.

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Connor Syme started his three-event Australia adventure with a one-over-par 73 in the first round of the Federal Amateur Open.

The Australian Amateur champion birdied the 13th and 14th holes at The Federal Golf Club to cancel out dropped shots at the fourth and eighth before finishing with a bogey.

The effort left the Drumoig man sitting just outside the top 20 as home player Justin Kim set the pace with a 66 that included an eagle and six birdies.

Syme is also playing in two professional events Down Under - the New South Wales Open and the Australian Open.

Both are rewards for him winning the Australian Amater Championship at the start of the year.

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Darren Howie sits just two shots off the lead heading into today’s final round of the 2016 Telegraph BMW Championship at Quinto do Lago in Portugal.

The Peebles player backed up his opening 73 with a 72 to move into third spot after 36 holes, leaving English duo Harry Goddard and James Wilson in his sights.

Goddard, held a three-shot overnight lead after his course-record 66 on Wednesday, sis now just one ahead after a second-round 77.

Hailed by 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley as one of junior golf’s majors, the event is being staged for the third year running on Quinta do Lago’s North Course.

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The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links next year will be part of an expanded Open Qualifying Series.

Two new events - the SMBC Singapore Open and the Ho Tram Players Championship in Vietnam - have been added to the schedule, taking the total number to 15 across 10 different countries.

Forty four places in The Open, which is being played at Royal Birkdale, will be available via the Qualifying Series.

Three places will be up for grabs at the Scottish Open when it is played at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire for the first time.

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A total of 21 Scots are among the hopefuls setting out at four venues in Spain today in the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.

At Las Colinasm the line-up includes first-stage winner Bradley Neil, as well as Scott Drummond, Paul Ferrier, Grant Forrest, Danny Kay and Peter Whiteford.

Ross Kellett and David Law are both at Lumine Golf, as are Sam Kiloh, Jamie Savage and Daniel Young, while Andrew McArthur, Paul Shields, Chris Doak, Jack Doherty and Tom Higson are all at Panoramica.

El Saler, the last of the four venues, has Wallace Booth, Ewen Ferguson, amateur Liam Johnson, Jack McDonald and Chris Robb in its field.

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Graham Fox fared best of the Scottish contingent in the first round of the PGAs of Europe Invitational Pro-Am at Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

The Clydeway Golf man carded a six-under-par 66 to sit joint-fourth, four shots behind home player Tiago Rodriguez after he made a storming start in the 54-hole event.

James Steven was next best among the Scots on 67, closely followed by John Henry.