Montgomerie seven shots off pace

Colin Montgomerie is seven shots behind the leader after the first day of the Senior Open

Colin Montgomerie is seven shots behind the leader after the first day of the Senior Open

First published in National Sport © by

Colin Montgomerie made a solid if unspectacular start to his bid to win three senior majors in a season at the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl .

The 51-year-old, who has already won the Senior PGA Championship and the Senior US Open, carded a one-over par 72 during the first round in Wales.

That leaves him seven shots behind German Bernhard Langer, who is in the driving seat on six under and two shots ahead of second-placed American Bob Tway.

With three rounds left to play it is a gap that can conceivably be overhauled, but Montgomerie has played down his chances and suggested the course is ill-suited to his game.

"This has never really been my sort of course if I'm honest with you. If I was to be brutally honest, I don't have a very good record in the Open Championship. Although I was second once," the Scot told www.europeantour.com.

"But I do prefer the American style of courses. This is guesswork and I'm not very good at guessing. So I've got to go back to the poker tables and guess a bit more and see how I go tomorrow."

Tway, who won the US PGA Championship in 1986, teed off in the morning and led the field for most of the day before Langer snatched the overnight lead with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes in the afternoon.

Englishman Chris Williams sits in third place after he reached three under par with a bogey-free opening round and Scot Andrew Oldcorn is a shot behind in fourth after bogeying the fifth and sixth holes.

Meanwhile, h ome favourite Ian Woosnam sits one shot behind Montgomerie after he recovered from three bogeys on the front nine to equal the Scot's score before another bogey on the 17th saw him drop a shot back.

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