Three-time Senior major winner Colin Montgomerie made a “reasonable start” in the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl.
Playing in testing conditions on the south Welsh links, the eight-time European No 1 was three-over-par through six holes before battling back to make the turn at just one over par. He then birdied the 13th and 18th holes, with a bogey on the 17th to finish with a level-par 71, two behind Bernhard Langer, winner at the same venue three years ago
“You have to be very, very patient in these conditions,” said Montgomerie, who finished runner-up to the German on that occasion, albeit 13 shots behind after Langer produced a links masterclass.
“It’s the guy that can deal with adversity more than anybody that’s going to do well here. It’s extremely difficult and scoring is extremely hard.
“We played conservative when we could and we attacked at the right time. I’m just delighted to get in. My goal is to be in contention on Saturday night, and I’ve made a reasonable start.”
Langer made his score with four birdies in six holes from the third before picking up his fifth birdie of the day at the last, having shown he was human by dropping shots at the first, 11th and 17th holes.
The 59-year-old leads by a shot from former Scottish Open champion Carl Mason and Argentina’s Mauricio Molina, with Montgomerie being in a group on 71 that also includes American quartet Tom Lehman, Billy Andrade, Billy Mayfair and Tom Pernice Jnr.
Tom Watson birdied the last for a 72, matched by fellow Open champions John Daly and Todd Hamilton, while Sandy Lyle opened with a 74.