Monty labours in return to action

It was all a bit of a battle for Colin Montgomerie on his return to action today – and not just with his golf.

Married for a second time two weeks ago, the eight-time European number one has not played for five weeks and it showed as he began the Spanish Open in Seville with back-to-back bogeys.

They were not his only problems, though. There was not much of a crowd, but that made anyone moving at the wrong time or standing in the wrong place all the more obvious.

And Montgomerie let them know it, even getting involved in a long staring match with one man which the man won.

A drive into sand led to the Scot’s opening five and a chip 12 feet past the hole on the 198-yard next dropped him to two-over, but he did at least birdie the long 13th and scrambled a par on the next after finding the deep rough off the tee.

At one over, however, he was already a massive seven shots behind the early leader, little-known Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia.

Ranked a lowly 1,123rd in the world and playing on a sponsor’s invitation, he was the first man to tee off and produced a magical front nine 30 with birdies on the second, third, fifth and eighth and then an eagle at the 545-yard ninth.

That put him four in front of a group which included English pair Gary Clark and Lee Slattery, while South African Charl Schwartzel, trying to become the first player to make a successful defence of the title since Max Faulkner in 1953, bogeyed the first three holes and remained three over after seven.

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