Shock qualifier Colin Montgomerie knows the Open at Royal Troon could represent his last realistic chance of contending for a major.
While he’s won three Senior majors since 2014, the 53-year old Scot never managed to break his duck during his regular career, finishing second five times and racking 10 Top 10s in 74 major appearances.
But after winning one of three spots on offer at Glasgow Gailes in Final Qualifying on Tuesday, the eight-time Order of Merit winner goes to the course where he grew up knowing he may never have as good a chance to become the oldest major winner since Julius Boros won the 1968 US PGA Championship at 48.
“I can’t really put into words the thrill of what it means to qualify for the Open again,” Montgomerie said during a conference call on behalf of Sky Sports.
“I had the odd round with the family when the stands were going up and hoping somehow I that I would get to play as opposed to just commentating on it. So it is great to be able to play and I am absolutely thrilled, I really am.
“It was probably the last time that I was going to qualify for an Open. But because it was Troon, I had to give it a go and it happened to work out.”
Local money is already piling on Montgomerie to produce a performance similar to Tom Watson, he lost in a playoff at Turnberry at 59 in 2009. Montgomerie’s father was secretary manager at Royal Troon for many years and as it’s the course where he learned the game as a youngster, the 2010 Ryder Cup skipper believes his local knowledge can help.
“I know my way around the course,” said Montgomerie, who hasn’t play in The Open since 2010. “When I was driving home, I said to myself. ‘right, the first goal now is to make the cut’. That’s No 1 and then you take it from there.
“Winning has never come into my thoughts but I would love to be playing on Sunday, I really would.
“The standard now and the distance the guys hit the ball now and the physical aspect of the game has changed dramatically over the last 10 years.
“But I’ve always felt that my best chance of winning a major later on in my career, just as it was with Tom Watson at Turnberry, would be playing a faster running golf course. So all I can say is that It represents the best chance of doing well.
“I don’t think I would be as confident if it was the US Open or the Masters or the US PGA. But I have more chance at an Open venue, yes.
“At Troon, I do know where not to go and where to miss and where to bail out. That’s for sure. If I can use that knowledge when I am playing, that’s fine.”
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