Montgomerie, coming off a bitter defeat days ago and battling a back injury, fired an 8-under-par 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Volvo PGA Championship.
Its nice to get my name up there early, said Montgomerie, who tied the course record. That was as good a round as my other two 64s I have shot here. I am glad to get that under my belt. I had the opportunities to score well today, took them, and that is very important.
Fellow Scot Andrew Coltart, Zimbabwean Mark McNulty, Argentine Eduardo Romero and Dane Steen Tinning are tied for second place at 5-under. Several players are four back, including defending champion Andrew Oldcorn and American Tom Gillis.
Normally, its a forgone conclusion that Montgomerie will contend for the Volvo PGA title ' he won this tournament from 1998-2000. But this year, there was a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not he would even make a start.
Back pains almost forced him to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, which ended Monday with Tiger Woods defeating Montgomerie on the third hole of sudden death.
Because four prolapsed discs are leaking fluid, he needs two hours to warm up before he is able to play.
The pains continued as the 38-year-old Scot traveled from Germany to Surrey, England, allowing him only five practice holes prior to teeing off Thursday.
But when youre this familiar with a layout ' he also won the 1999 Cisco World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club ' experience outweighs preparation.
Montgomerie recorded one eagle, nine birdies and three bogeys in the first round. After making the turn in 3-under 33, he started his back nine birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie. He bogeyed the par-4 15th, but birdied both of the par-5 finishing holes.
One of the best shots I hit today was a 5-iron on the fifth. The reason I say that is because I normally hit a 6-iron there but I cant come through the ball properly and it is amazing how much more control I seem to have on the ball. I hit it to ten feet there and holed it,' he said.
'That is what I am doing right now, just playing within myself and trying to get round, use my new technique putting to its best effect and it seems to be working well.
Full-field scores from the Volvo PGA Championship