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No wins yet, but Monty is playing like his old self

For a man who once said he would never play on the over-50s scene, Colin Montgomerie seems to be rather enjoying his senior service.

Colin Montgomerie takes on the Insperity Invitational at the Woodlands CC. Picture: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Colin Montgomerie takes on the Insperity Invitational at the Woodlands CC. Picture: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The regular forays across the Atlantic to compete on the sloshing gravy train that is the Champions Tour have been purposeful and profitable. The Scot has racked up top-10 finishes in all six events contested this year.

Having reached his half-century last June, Monty is clearly relishing the latest chapter in an eventful sporting life. It was not that long ago that he was clumping out of regular European Tour events with the shoulders drooped at half-mast having missed another cut. The time had come for a change. Since leaving the young 'uns, Monty has been galvanised among the golden oldies.

The competitive fires have been given a right good stoking and the 50-year-old is back where he likes to be at the sharp end of affairs.

The former Europe Ryder Cup talisman and captain won his first title among the elder statesmen on the European Senior Tour at Woburn last summer but cracking America is a different kettle of water dwelling creatures. With the likes of Bernhard Langer showing no sign of winding down and knocking off victories on the Champions Tour with wild abandon, Monty knows he will have to be at his best to achieve a career first career win on US soil. He is heading in the right direction, though.

"Playing week-in, week-out is much better for me and I am playing better than I have for 10 years, I really am," said a buoyant Montgomerie. "In terms of winning, I've just come up against a brick wall in Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples in particular. Langer is unbelievable. I have to take my hat off to him. He's 57 and to be doing what he is doing is quite phenomenal. I'd like to think a win is around the corner but who knows?

"If I finish three or four shots ahead of the likes of Langer and Couples, then I'll have done bloody well. I'd like to think the door will open one day and I've just got to keep putting in these consistent performances in the hope it will.

"I'm getting to the standard I could see I had to reach when I played in my first few senior events last year. It's been a learning process. For instance, it's only three rounds. It's a bit of sprint rather than a marathon."

Montgomerie has been keeping up with the sprightly pace and his consistency can be highlighted by that fact that his highest score on the circuit in 2014 is 72. Getting the putter to co-operate and get that little white dimpled ball into a small hole has also helped matters.

"I don't normally pay much attention to stats but I was looking at some the other night and noticed I'm leading the putting stats on the Champions Tour this season," he noted. "That's something I've never done before, not in Europe far less America. I'm holing out well and that's enabling me to get these top-10 finishes."

With the senior majors coming thick and fast, Montgomerie continues to harbour lofty ambitions. This week, the Regions Tradition, one of five majors on the over-50s scene, takes place in Alabama before the bandwagon rumbles on to Missouri for the Senior PGA Championship.

For the past 25 years, Montgomerie has usually been preparing for the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, at this time of the campaign. Wentworth was one of his great hunting grounds, having won a hat trick of PGA crowns there between 1998 and 2000, but his eyes are now on pastures new.

"The Senior PGA clashes with Wentworth," he added. "I had a big think about that but I've got to decide where my future is and, unfortunately, it's about trying to win senior majors. It's the first time I've missed Wentworth in 25 years.

"I'm not trying to qualify for the Open either. I've got the US Open in Oklahoma the week of the Scottish Open and I don't get back from that until the Tuesday. That wouldn't give me much chance to prepare even if I did qualify. Then I've got the Senior Open at Porthcawl the week after so I'll have a few days at home before going down to Wales."

So have we seen the last of Monty at an Open Championship?

"I wouldn't say that," he responded swiftly. "If I happen to be lucky enough to win the Senior Open, that would get me into the Open at St Andrews next year.

"Then, in the 2015 Senior Open, the prize will be a spot in the Open at Troon in 2016. I'll be taking that one on, I can assure you."

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