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).
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