Monty Poulter Share Volvo Lead

By Sports NetworkOctober 27, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourSOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Colin Montgomerie and defending champion Ian Poulter both shot 4-under-par 67s Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the Volvo Masters at Valderrama Golf Club.
 
Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie's last Order of Merit title came in 1999.
Luke Donald had a chance to join the leaders at 4 under, but missed his birdie putt on the 18th hole. Donald posted a 3-under-par 68 to share third place with hometown favorites Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal.
 
Englishman Steve Webster is one stroke further back at minus-2 and was joined there by Sweden's Robert Karlsson.
 
Montgomerie, who leads the Order of Merit, got off to a hot start as he birdied the first and third. However, the Scotsman dropped a shot on the par-4 fifth. He bounced right back to birdie the sixth.
 
The 42-year-old holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 eighth to jump to minus-4. Montgomerie, the 1993 winner, slipped to another bogey on the ninth, but recovered that stroke with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th.
 
Montgomerie's tee shot to the par-3 12th was well offline. He missed the green well right and was unable to save par from there. The seven-time Order of Merit winner closed with a 7-foot birdie putt at the last to share the first-round lead.
 
'It's pleasing because the last few days have been difficult,' Montgomerie said. 'I've got everything to lose, but I love this golf course and I got rid of the anxiety in the first three holes. That's my second best score around here and I'm hitting it further, straighter and better than I've ever done.'
 
Poulter, who parred the first playoff hole last year to knock off Garcia, wrapped birdies on the fourth and sixth around a bogey on the fifth. He made the turn at 2 under as he birdied the par-4 ninth.
 
The Englishman parred the first four holes of the back nine at Valderrama. Poulter then birdied the par-4 14th. He got to 4 under with a birdie at 16 and managed to stay there as he got up and down for par at the last.
 
'The putter feels real comfortable in my hands right now and that is a good thing at this course,' said Poulter, a six-time winner on the European Tour. 'There was a slightly different wind from last year. It's pretty much opposite, which makes for a couple tricky tee shots on the par-3s. You just have think a bit more.'
 
Paul Casey and Niclas Fasth each carded rounds of 1-under-par 70. They share eighth place with Bradley Dredge, Gregory Havret, Raphael Jacquelin, Maarten Lafeber and Henrik Stenson. Lee Westwood and Nick Dougherty pace a group of eight players at even par.
 
U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who could pass Montgomerie to win the Order of Merit title, is five strokes behind the Scotsman as he opened with a 1-over-par 72, where he stands tied for 23rd.
 
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”