Montgomerie shoots 62 to qualify for British Open
Ireland’s Shane Lowry won the 96-man qualifying event after carding 11 under to finish two shots clear of Andrew Coltart and Montgomerie, who will extend his unbroken run of Open appearances to 21, dating back to 1990.
A total of 10 qualifying places were available to members of the European Tour who had not qualified automatically for the year’s third major tournament.
Among those failing to qualify were former Ryder Cup players Darren Clarke, David Howell and Paul McGinley, while Italian teenager Matteo Manassero – who at 16 in 2009 became the youngest winner of the Open’s Amateur Silver Medal after finishing 13th at Turnberry – also missed out.
Montgomerie described his morning round of 69 on the Old course as “not good enough” but made amends after lunch.
The Scot started his second round with birdies at his first two holes and finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th. He believed the last hole to be a par 4 and when he put his second shot into a bunker, thought a bogey might force him into a playoff.
But when he holed a 4-foot putt for his eighth birdie in the round, he reached 9 under and his place was safe.
“There was a moment of panic when the ball went into the sand but as it turned out, it’s now a par 5 and I actually ended up with another birdie,” Montgomerie said.
“But that was my best round of golf for a long time and it’s very special to be going to St. Andrews again this year as the Ryder Cup captain. It’s probably the last time I will play there in an Open in my career.”
The 23-year-old Lowry, who won last year’s Irish Open while an unpaid amateur, will play the first major of his career.
“At the start of the year, I said that I wanted to play this year’s Open because it is always a great event at St. Andrews,” Lowry said. “I have only played there once before as a professional – in last year’s Dunhill Links – and didn’t do too well, but the weather is very different in July than it was in October.”
Manassero put himself in contention for one of the qualifying spots after a 6-under 64 over the Old course but followed up with a 71.
“The New course was playing a lot harder,” Manassero said. “And I didn’t play as well around there, tee to green. It is a big disappointment not to be going to St. Andrews.”
Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark both shot 132 to qualify, while others to qualify were Jose Manuel Lara, Tano Goya, Ignacio Garrido and Bradley Dredge, who all carded 133.
Marcel Siem of Germany (134) won a six-man playoff to become the 10th and final qualifier.
Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way
Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.
Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.
And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.
Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.
Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.
Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.
Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.
“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.
Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.
A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.
It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.
There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.
Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.
The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.
Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.
“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”
Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why
In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.
Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.
With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.
"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.
So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.
"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.
Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away
Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.
On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.
And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship.
"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.
"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."
Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.
He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).
Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.
With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.
But he isn't celebrating just yet.
"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.
"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."
Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win
Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.
Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member.
The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.
In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.
"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.
"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."
Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.
But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.
"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...
"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."