WILLIAM Guy went to the same public school, Strathallan, as Colin
Montgomerie but since they left that seat of learning their golfing
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fortunes could not have followed more divergent paths -- Guy struggling
to make his way in the game, Montgomerie, three times a millionaire on
European tournament earnings alone.
Yesterday, in the first round of the Tartan Special Scottish
Professional championship at Dalmahoy, Guy's 69 left him tied with
Andrew Oldcorn only a stroke behind the leader, Russell Weir, and raised
his hopes of cutting a reasonable slice of the #65,000 prize fund.
Until this week from five other outings, the 27-year-old Buchanan
Castle professional had won only #1800 -- and that for finishing sixth
in the Kenya Open.
Guy was even deprived of #5 of that recently in Las Palmas, where he
was threatened and robbed by a knife-wielding mugger who also struck him
in the left eye. Guy feared his sight might have been permanently
impaired but a subsequent examination found, to his relief, that no
serious damage had been inflicted.
''I'm trying to qualify for the main Tour through the Challenge Tour,
after missing out for my card in a play-off in last autumn's school, and
that costs about #1000 a week,'' Guy explained, although he does have
financial support from a Southport businessman he met while playing in a
Guy completed a good morning's work with a birdie at the 480-yard
ninth, the sixth of his round, although he had to hole a second putt of
six feet after he had reached the green with a No.3 wood shot into the
hailstorm which had cost him bogeys at the two previous holes.
Weir has won everything on the Tartan Tour worth winning except this
championship, the flagship event, but the 43-year-old Dunoon
professional made a possible move towards improving on two runner-up
finishes with his 68, four under par. Weir, playing the outward half
last in a testing westerly wind which blew the occasional rain squall
over the 6677-yard West course, finished with two of five birdies.
First, he chipped in from 15 yards after his approach had spun off the
eighth green and then having hit a No.2 iron to 10 feet left the eagle
putt hovering on the hole's rim.
Whereupon Weir, feeling his legs tired and anxious to put his feet up,
immediately left to catch a ferry home. ''I'm overweight and old,'' he
reflected wryly over his car phone. ''It's not for want of trying I
haven't won this title -- indeed, perhaps I've tried too hard and so put
too much pressure on myself.''
Oldcorn, a very late starter, had the worst of the weather, but wetter
and even colder than before in a wind from the most difficult direction.
The course may not be as unforgiving as St Mellion, where Oldcorn on
Sunday finished equal fourth, but the conditions were more unpleasant
and he was satisfied with this start.
Rather as Adam Hunter had summed up his 72 so Oldcorn did his score:
''It was a better working round than a ball-striking one.'' Ultimately
the glue that held his score together was formed by the four substantial
single putts he made in five holes from the thirteenth, two each for
pars at birdies.
The ninth proved even more valuable for the holder, Andrew Coltart. He
was ''playing along very averagely'' when from a downhill lie he struck
a No.4 iron shot of 199 yards to within 25 feet for an eagle 3 and a 70,
so that he played the three par-5s -- the adjoining first and tenth both
uphill but down wind -- in four under.
Among the others on 70 was Alan Tait who played alongside Coltart. He
complained of inconsistent putting from genuine holing-out range, but
Tait, aged 26, who has set three course records -- Carnoustie (64), The
Queen's at Gleneagles Hotel (63), and Buchanan Castle (62) -- had single
putts for four of his five gains.
68 -- R Weir (Cowal).
69 -- W Guy (Buchanan Castle), A Oldcorn (Dalmahoy Hotel).
70 -- A Coltart (Thornhill), A Tait (Cawder), K Campbell
(Machrihanish), D McKay (Ladybank), D Thomson (Kings Links), B Marchbank
(Marchbank Golf Enterprises).
71 -- L Vannet (Carnoustie), A Crerar (Downfield), S Harrier (Craigie
Hill), I Collins (Stirling) S MacPherson (Felixstowe Ferry), S Syme
(Glenrothes), I Young (Braid Hills), J Greaves (Glasgow), S Martin
(North Engineering), C Innes (Golfanlage Schloss), S Stephen (Braid
Hills), D Drysdale (Dunbar).
72 -- P Wardell (Longniddry), A Hunter (Strathclyde Park), T Coles
(King James VI), S Callan (Dalmahoy), B Davidson (Kings Links), R Aitken
(Barassie), G Redford (Turnberry Hotel), A Hogg (Golf Club Chieming), S
Henderson (Kings Links), R Arnott (Caddy Shack), G Harvey (Grangemouth).
73 -- J McCreadie (Buchanan Castle), F Mann (Musselburgh), C Gillies
(Falkirk), K Stables (Montrose), B Lockie (Barassie), I Bratton (Cruden
Bay), S Craig (Dunfermline), S Kerr (Renfrew), G Jack (Kirriemuir), G
Laing (North Wilts), J Henderson (Royal Musselburgh), C Elliott (Dubai
Creek), C Everett (Caldwell), K Fairbairn (Goswick).