Monty’s 900-mile qualifier dash fails

A 900-mile overnight dash Colin Montgomerie hoped would see him qualify for the US Open has failed.

A 900-mile overnight dash Colin Montgomerie hoped would see him qualify for the US Open has failed.

Mortified by a closing 86 in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday, his worst-ever score at Wentworth, the Scottish veteran decided to drive home to Perthshire to fetch a putter he hoped would solve his problems in Monday’s 36-hole US Open Final Qualifier at Walton Heath in Surrey.

Montgomerie said he left Wentworth at 2pm Sunday and reached home at 8pm. He left against at 11pm after “having tea with the family” and arrived at Walton Heathy “just after 6am” but after opening with a solid 68 that put him on track to one of the 11 US Open places up for grabs, he faded in the second round and missed out on earning a qualifying spot by just two strokes when he closed with a 72.

“Who in their right mind would do that? But yes, I did,” Montgomerie admitted when talking to the media about his marathon drive.

“It’s just a shame – I played really well this morning and gave myself a chance,” he said as he looked back on his afternoon round and his pitch to the 17th which hit the flag stick and rebounding 15 feet away, and his lip-out from a similar distance on the 18th

Last year was the first time since 1989 that Montgomerie had failed to qualify for any major, but he is adamant that he will keep on trying and has already entered for the Open qualifier at Sunningdale on June 25.

Current Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal also failed to qualify on Monday, in his case by three shots after rounds of 67 and 74.

Joint winners of the Walton Heath qualifier on nine under were Swede Alexander Noren, who this week will defend the Wales Open at Celtic Manor, and Scot Marc Warren, a former World Cup winner for Scotland with Montgomerie who has finally made it into a Major championship after nine previous qualifying attempts.

“I wasn’t even sure whether I was going to play today,” said the 31-year-old Warren, “but the people around me told me to give it a rip and see what happened.”

He needed something special after an opening 70 on the Old Course, but produced it with a seven-under 65 on the shorter New.Course to finish joint third on seven under with England’s Lee Slattery, Dane Soren Kjeldsen, South African George Coetzee, Finn Mikko Ilonen and France’s Gregory Bourdy.

That left Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, who finished fourth at Wentworth, England’s Matthew Baldwin, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Korean Sihwan Kim and 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero having to fight for the remaining four places in a play-off.

Manassero and Baldwin birdied the first to go through, then Jacquelin and Lawrie qualified on the second extra hole after Kim bogeyed and fell by the wayside..

ALL THE SCORERS:The qualifiers
135 Alexander Noren (Swe) 67 68, Marc Warren 70 65
137 Lee Slattery 71 66, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68 69, George Coetzee (Rsa) 66 71, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 66 71, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 67 70
138 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 70 68, Matthew Baldwin 67 71, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 69 69, Peter Lawrie 67 71
The Non-qualifiers
138 Sihwan Kim (Kor) 66 72
139 Ross McGowan 73 66, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 69, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 71 68, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 67 72, Gregory Havret (Fra) 71 68, Richard Bland 67 72
140 Robert Coles 72 68, Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 70 70, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 70 70, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 72 68, Stephen Gallacher 67 73, Colin Montgomerie 68 72
141 Markus Brier (Aut) 69 72, Oscar Floren (Swe) 71 70, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 67 74, Chris Wood 70 71
142 Andrew Johnston 74 68, Ross Fisher 71 71, Shane Lowry 72 70, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 72, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 70 72
143 Ricardo Santos (Por) 74 69, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 66 77, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 68 75, Marcel Siem (Ger) 71 72, Carlos Del Moral (Spa) 73 70, Mohammad Siddikur (Ban) 70 73
144 Gary Boyd 72 72, Gary Murphy 73 71, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 73 71, Johan Edfors (Swe) 69 75, Romain Wattel (Fra) 71 73
145 Rhys Davies 73 72, Matthew Zions (Aus) 71 74, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 71 74, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 68 77, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 74 71, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 69 76, Simon Khan 75 70, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 73 72
146 Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 69 77, Tommy Fleetwood 71 75
147 Anton Haig (Rsa) 73 74, Himmat Rai (Ind) 74 73
148 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 72 76
149 Sean Whiffin 70 79, Tom Lewis 73 76
150 Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 73 77
151 Richard McEvoy 77 74
152 Zhiqun Lam (Sin) 75 77, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 76 76
153 Scott Hend (Aus) 76 77, Oskar Henningsson (Swe) 73 80
154 Ian Keenan 77 77
WD: Pablo Martin (Spa), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Richie Ramsay, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Julien Quesne (Fra), Brett Rumford (Aus), Scott Jamieson, Pelle Edberg (Swe), Shiv Kapur (Ind), Thomas Levet (Fra), Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe), George Murray, Andrew Dodt (Aus)