Montgomerie moves up board as Matthew comes up shy

Colin Mongomerie plays a shot at the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh. Picture: AP
Colin Mongomerie plays a shot at the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh. Picture: AP
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SEVEN was proving Catriona Matthew’s unlucky number as the Scottish No 1 slipped back in the second round of the US Women’s Open at Sebonack. But, in golf’s other major being staged this week on the other side of the Atlantic, Colin Montgomerie had moved up the leaderboard when play was suspended for the day in the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh.

Lying just outside the top 20 after starting his over-50s career with a one-under-par 69 at Fox Chapel, the eight-time European No 1 was up to joint-tenth, having covered his opening 12 holes in the second round in three-under.

Montgomerie opened with three birdies in his first five holes, dropped a shot at the sixth but repaired that damage straight away with a fourth birdie of the day at the seventh.

His only problem was that Fred Couples, winner of the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry last July, had produced a telling thrust.

The former Masters champion was seven-under for the day and 11-under – seven better than Montgomerie – for the tournament.

Sandy Lyle, the only other Scot in the field, was level-par for both the day and the event with four holes to play in his second round. It will resume at 8am local time this morning after tournament officials gave up hope of resuming play yesterday due to the bad weather.

Matthew, who was pipped for a play-off in the LPGA Championship, another of the women’s majors, had started out in joint-ninth after she’d opened with a two-under-par 70 in Southampton, New Jersey.

She was down to joint-27th by the time she’d signed for a second-round 75. The Scot’s card contained two double-bogey 7s – her third in total in two rounds.

Matthew tweeted that it had been “very windy” on a “tough course” while the former Women’s British Open champion also seemed to be unhappy with the pace of play by highlighting that both her rounds had taken “5hrs 40mins”.

Two other Scots, Janice Moodie and Sally Watson, were heading out of the event at the halfway stage. Moodie’s second-round 79 left her on 163, one ahead of Watson, who carded a second successive 82 on her professional debut.

Carly Booth, the other Scot in the field and also facing a fight to be in the final two rounds, was among the day’s later starters.

In the first of three Senior major appearances over the next five weeks, Montgomerie outscored playing partner Bernhard Langer by three shots as he made his keenly-anticipated first outing on the circuit after turning 50 last Sunday. “I’m just delighted to get 69 in,” said the 2010 Ryder Cup captain. “I played super, but I putted like a complete buffoon.”

He was in danger of spoiling a decent day’s work after running up a double-bogey at the eight – his penultimate hole – but his back with a closing birdie-3. “I was delighted to finish that way,” he added.

The second day’s play in the AT&T National was also hit by bad weather at Congressional, where Roberto Castro (69) and Jordan Speith (66) were tied for the clubhouse lead on two-round totals of seven-under-par. Speith bagged five birdies going out in his flawless effort.

Martin Laird had also finished his second round before the claxon sounded but, after rounds of 71 and 73, the Scot was sitting nine shots off the pace.