Coltart Looks to Turn Tide in Homeland

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As the Diageo Championship at Gleneagles, formerly the Scottish PGA Championship, rolls around, a few Scotsmen find their names on the tips of peoples tongues.
 
There is Colin Montgomerie, who is trying to regain his footing both personally and professionally. There is Scott Drummond, who shocked all of Europe ' and everyone else who was paying attention, when he won the European Tours flagship event, the Volvo PGA Championship, while ranked 435th in the world. And there is Paul Lawrie. As the U.S. Open approaches and Europeans are being reminded that no one from their continent has won the event since 1970, they are also being reminded that a European hasnt won a major of any kind since Lawrie in 1999.
 
But nowhere near the front of public consciousness is another Scot ' Andrew Coltart.
 
Five years ago, Coltart was an unlikely captains selection for the 1999 European Ryder Cup team. He had won the 98 Qatar Masters and finished the year ninth on the Order of Merit. He didnt win in 1999 or in 2000, but he cracked the top 25 in earnings both seasons.
 
Coltart added a second tour victory to his resume at the 2001 Great North Open, and was in position to make his second straight Ryder Cup team. But he couldnt capitalize on his mid-season victory and failed to qualify. This time he wasnt chosen ' by fellow Scot Sam Torrance ' as a wild card.
 
Coltart finished 54th and 31st, in 2002 and 2003 respectively, on the money list.

Eleven years into his European Tour career, Coltart had proven that he was not the second coming of Colin Montgomerie. But he had proved to be a consistent performer, one who could contend on occasion, and one who could earn a solid income doing so.
 
Enter 2004.
 
Coltart heads to his homeland in his worst slump since he first joined the tour in 1993, when he was 171st on the Order of Merit ' the only time he has finished outside the top 55.
 
The 34-year-old has six missed cuts and one withdrawal in 14 starts. He has yet to shoot back-to-back rounds in the 60s, and just last week earned his best finish of the season, a tie for 34th in Wales. He's 151st on the Order of Merit.
 
I've got to learn to crawl again before I start walking, getting back into contention again and enjoying Sunday afternoon, he said after opening one shot off the lead in the British Masters five weeks ago.
 
I've had a terrible start but I've tried not to lose faith, hoping you can come back.
 
Unfortunately for Coltart, he followed his opening 67 at the British Masters with rounds of 77-81-76.
 
And this may not be the venue that turns things around. He missed the cut in his debut in 2001, tied for 68th the following year, and was disqualified after opening in 81 a year ago.
 
This is the sixth playing of the event, which has been contested at Gleneagles Hotel since its inception.
 
Soren Kjeldsen is the defending champion, having won with a 9-under 279 total. That was 17 shots higher than Adam Scotts 72-hole tournament record score of 262 the year before.
 
With winds swirling over the first two days in last years tournament, the cut fell at 8-over 152.
 
Englishman Warren Bennett (1999) and Swedens Pierre Fulke (2000) join Dane Kjeldsen as past champions in attendance. Australian Scott is not in the field this week; neither is 2001 winner Paul Casey of England. Casey lost in a playoff to unheralded Simon Kahn last week at Celtic Manor.
 
Lawrie is the last Scotsman to win in Scotland, when he did so in the 2001 Dunhill links championship.
 
Alistair Forsyth came close to winning in his native country when he finished runner-up to Kjeldsen. Montgomerie finished fourth a year ago in his debut in this event.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Diageo Championship at Gleneagles