Colin Montgomerie is hoping a return to a happy hunting ground will play to his strength when he bids for a record-equalling hat-trick of wins in the US Senior PGA Championship next month.
The over-50s major returns to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores in Michigan, where the Scot claimed his first victory in the event in 2014 before retaining the title in Indiana last year.
“I like Jack Nicklaus golf courses,” said Montgomerie as he looked forward to his bid to join Eddie Williams and Hale Irwin as the only players to win the event in three successive starts, the latter being the most recent from 1996-98.
“I like how he gives you some room off the tee, but it’s a second-shot golf course. That’s how I’ve made a career. I can hit my second shot the right distance. I can hit that distance more often than not, and that’s this course – you have to hit it the right distance.”
Among Montgomerie’s rivals will be John Daly, who qualfies for the Senior ranks today, his 50th birthday. “I really started looking hard at it last year,” Daly told pgatour.com. “And now I’m going to play as many events as I can. It’s going to be a full-time schedule for me for most of this year. I’m still going to play the PGA Championship and the British [Open]. I’m still competitive and I still like going to Europe. They love having me and I love being there.”
On the domestic front, Greig Hutcheon made a winning start under his new attachment to Inchmarlo Golf Resort by coming out on top in the Scottish qualifier at Ladybank for the PGA Professional Championship. The former Tartan Tour No 1 led 10 qualifiers for event at The Oxfordshire in July with a two-under-par 69.
Later in the year, Hutcheon will be among a record number of players competing in the Blue Group-sponsored Highland Golf Links 54-Hole Pro-Am. Already 268 golfers have committed to playing in the Tartan Tour event – a rise of more than 20 per cent on last year.