Bad-Back Monty Back in Contention


Colin Montgomerie, trying to become the first player in tournament history to win four times, is one back through two rounds of the Murphys Irish Open.
Montgomerie fired his second straight 4-under 67 Friday at the Fota Island Golf Course. Australian Peter OMalley leads the way, at 9-under, after also shooting 67 in round two.
Montgomerie shares second place with Swedens Carl Pettersson (67) and Germanys Alex Cejka (65).
Lee Westwood, who hasnt won since overthrowing Montgomerie at the top of the Order of Merit in 2000, is two back after a 68. Overnight co-leader Fred Funk shot 70 to fall three off the pace at minus 6. The American is tied for 10th place along with Australian Adam Scott (66).
Montgomerie is trying to extend a nine-year winning streak on the European Tour. In fact, hes won at least twice every year since 1993.
The 39-year-old Scot captured his third Irish Open title a year ago. Friday, he birdied four of his first eight holes before dropping a shot at the ninth after suffering a twinge in his back ' a problem he has dealt with all year. He was treated by the on-course doctor with painkillers, but struggled to find the fairways on the back nine. Still, he finished with a pair of birdies to again move into contention.
I had all sorts of problems coming in, Montgomerie said, but finished strongly. I chipped and putted on the 15th and 16th and then birdied the last two. So instead of being 5- or even 4-under-par, Im 8-under and thats a big, big difference.
I am looking forward to having another couple of 67s, and I believe I can do that.
OMalley won his first tour title at Montgomeries expense. He played the final five holes in 7-under to defeat the Scotsman in the Scottish Open, ten years ago.
The 37-year-old Australian gained international fame when he defeated Tiger Woods in the opening round of this years World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
OMalleys 67 consisted of five birdies and one bogey.
The course is playing like an Australian course with firm fairways, firm greens and a bit of wind. I enjoy playing here, he said.
Westwood made four birdies in succession, starting at the third, before recording a double bogey at the 10th and a bogey at 12. He finished, however, with birdies at 14 and 16.
I am delighted with the position I am in, said the 29-year-old Englishman. I have a chance going into the weekend which is something I have not been able to say for quite a while ' very satisfying.
Full-field scores from the Murphy's Irish Open