Monty in complete command of Nairn final

The Scotsman, 3 August 1987
Colin Montgomerie was considering a move to professional ranks. Picture: GettyColin Montgomerie was considering a move to professional ranks. Picture: Getty
Colin Montgomerie was considering a move to professional ranks. Picture: Getty

colin Montgomerie’s ability to adjust to the high winds which marred the last two days was, he admitted, a contributory factor to his winning the J&B Scottish amateur golf title at Nairn. “I concentrated on slowing down my swing,” he said.

“I was not too happy with my first four rounds in the championship. I was missing too many ten and 12ft putts, but my game seemed to get better as the week wore on, although I have never played in wind like that. Now,” he admitted, “I have some important decisions to make within the next few weeks.”

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It is no secret that the 24-year-old Walker Cup golfer has been considering a future in the professional game and that view was probably strenghthened by his run at Nairn, culminating in a 9 and 8 win over Alasdair Watt of Barassie.

During a testing week, the Royal Troon man showed he has a complete command of all the shots in the game. His victory rounded off what was, he revealed, a reassuring and highly satisfying few months.

He helped his Houston Baptist University team to take fifth place in the US Inter-collegiate finals; he himself took fifth individual position; and he made the cut in three professional tournaments to which he was invited on this side of the water.

“I reckon in my last 16 rounds of stroke play I have been no more than two over par,” he said.

Montgomerie will play for Scotland against West Germany on Friday and participate in the Leven Golf Medal event which follows, but after that he plans a short holiday in America, during which his future in the game may be clarified. “One cannot play professional golf these days without sponsorship,” he emphasised.

Significantly, perhaps, the Scotland selectors have delayed naming their team for the home internationals at Lahinch, Co Clare, next month until the middle of next week.

It was an indication of Montgomerie’s splendid performance in the final that, after covering the opening nine holes a little hesitantly, he was five under par for the next 19, taking an almost impregnable six-hole lead into the lunch break.

The 20-year-old Watt, however, is a much better player than his final defeat would seem to indicate. Having disposed of some notable performers during the earlier rounds, he was one up after nine holes of the final.

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Montgomerie, however, sank a vital six-yard putt to stay just one down at the long tenth and then a series of nervous and uncharacteristic mistakes contributed to Watt losing seven of the next eight holes, three of which his opponent birdied.

A bunkered tee shot at the short 11th was followed by an impossible lie on a steep down-slope behind the green at the 12th, two tentatively jabbed chips at the 13th and 14th, and three in a bunker at the 17th. Although he put a brave face on the afternoon round, he had saddled himself with an impossible handicap against a player of Montgomerie’s calibre.