US Open blow for Monty

Colin Montgomerie’s 80 at Baltray on Sunday means qualifying at Walton Heath is his only shot at a US Open place.

Colin Montgomerie’s closing 80 at the Irish Open – inevitably overshadowed by amateur Shane Lowry winning the title – had more damaging implications than merely a tumble down the leaderboard.
By falling from joint seventh to 41st, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain is left with only one way into next month’s US Open – by qualifying at Walton Heath next Monday.
Montgomerie’s world ranking dropped on Monday from 176th and 182nd and that means even a win in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week would not take him into the top 50 in time for next Monday’s cut-off point.
And nor would claiming the massive first prize of more than £650,000 put him among the top five on the ‘Race To Dubai’ money list, who also earn exemptions into the field for Bethpage Black.
Eight-time European number one Montgomerie, 46 next month, languishes down in 97th place on the Order of Merit having not finished outside the top 30 since he was Rookie of the Year in 1988.
Because of Lowry’s amateur status, runner-up Robert Rock was handed the winner’s cheque for almost £440,000 at County Louth and the 32-year-old Englishman shot up from 50th to seventh on the money list with more than £640,000 as a result.
Rock has never played a major in America but a top-five finish on Sunday could now get him into the US Open.
Only six years ago he was one of the teaching professionals at the Swingers Golf Centre in Lichfield but then a fourth-place finish in the British Masters that year helped him to earn a Tour card.
Rock has been back to the qualifying school three times since, most recently two years ago when he failed to get through it, but he has now had three second places this season.