The British Open will be without Colin Montgomerie next week for the first time since 1989 after the veteran Scot ran out of steam at the Scottish Open on Sunday.
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The former Europe Ryder Cup captain needed a top-five finish at Castle Stuart to stand a chance of making next week’s tournament in Sandwich, and he briefly held a share of the lead following a birdie at the par-5 No. 6.
However, a disastrous double-bogey on the short 11th – which came after he missed the green with his tee shot and then fluffed a short chip – not only cost him a shot at victory in the Highlands but also an opportunity to seal his Open place.
”It was going well and then I sort of ran out of puff,” he said. ”It was always too soon, too short. So there you go. A week off next week.”
After bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14, Montgomerie responded by making three straight birdies but a final-round 70 wasn’t enough. He must now wait until Lytham St. Anne’s in 2012 for another chance to win the Open.
The closest the eight-time European Order of Merit champion has come to winning his home major was in 2005, when he finished second to Tiger Woods by five strokes at St. Andrews. He may never get as close again, but he vowed to continue giving it a go.
”We’ll have to start again, that’s all we’ve got,” he said.
After finishing the second round at Castle Stuart early on Sunday at 8 under – a target he had set for himself Saturday – to lie three shots off the pace, Montgomerie gave the home fans renewed hope with an eagle on the par-5 No. 2 to close in on the leaders.
His birdie at No. 6 drew him alongside five others at the top of the leaderboard but that was as close as he came, finishing with a 10-under 206.
Montgomerie slipped to No. 420 in the rankings during his two-year spell as Ryder Cup captain and is attempting to get back into the top 50. He is currently No. 285.