Monty the beneficiary of a late reprieve
Colin Montgomerie can look forward to completing The 145th Open in his home town of Troon after he was the beneficiary of a dramatic reprieve late during the second round at Royal Troon.
For much of afternoon, the former Ryder Cup captain seemed destined to miss the cut after posting rounds of 71 and 75 but the worsening weather let in all the players on 146 which means the veteran Scot will be able to play all four rounds at the club where his father, James, was once the club secretary.
Montgomerie was by no means the only beneficiary of the wind and rain that buffeted the late starters during the second round. Current World No. 3, Jordan Spieth, battled the elements to par the last three holes to join the Scot on 146. Current Masters Champion Danny Willett holed a 20-foot par putt on the last to finish alongside him while Jim Furyk, Brand Snedeker, former US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson and 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year Paul Lawrie were among the other players to finish on the same number.
Despite the late change, there were still a considerable number of big names who failed to make it through to the weekend. Ernie Els, twice winner of The Open, slumped to a second round 76 to miss out by one shot on 145 while three Champion Golfers of the Year at Royal Troon, Todd Hamilton, Justin Leonard and Mark Calcavecchia all finished one shot further back, on the same mark as Vijay Singh.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry went out on seven over par 149 despite shooting a second round 71 while John Daly and Paul Casey missed out on 151, 2010 Champion Golfer of the Year Louis Oosthuizen finished on 154, last year’s 54-hole leader Paul Dunne went home on 155 and two other winners of The Open, Ben Curtis and Sandy Lyle, propped up the field on 160 and 163.
This year there will be no winner of the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur who plays all four rounds because the 2016 Amateur Champion Scott Gregory and European Amateur Champion Stefano Mazzoli fell by the wayside. Gregory recovered from an opening 78 with a 73 but still missed out by five shots while his 19-year-old Italian rival was three shots further back after posting rounds of 76 and 78.
“It was pretty incredible,” said 21-year-old Gregory.
“I’ve learned a lot this week. I’ve never played on the Challenge Tour or in another professional event so it’s been good to see where I am and what I’ve got to go and work on. I feel like I’m not far away so that’s a big positive for me this week.
“I will definitely go and play at The Masters and then we’ll have to see.”