Montgomerie upbeat about Muirfield prospects


A day after sounding pessimistic about his British Open prospects, Colin Montgomerie produced some of the best golf of his career in the Scottish Open's final round today.

The seven-times European number one fired a five-under-par 66 to finish at six-under 278 and hold the clubhouse lead after 72 holes at an overcast and damp Loch Lomond.

The Scot, who on Saturday was struggling to cure a hook and desperately searching for more confidence going into next week's British Open at Muirfield, could only complain about his putting.

"That was the best I've played for many, many years and to miss as many putts as that was criminal," he said after failing with nine putts from inside 15 feet.

"But that's the best I've played in a long, long time and it was very disappointing in the end," he added.

"It's a better round than Congressional, much better," he said, referring to his superb opening 65 at the 1997 US Open which many people rate the best score of his career in a high-pressure event.

"That round's right up there. I can't play any better than that."

Fredrik Jacobson still holds the lead at Loch Lomond, the Swede (11 under) with a narrow one stroke advantage over Australia’s Stephen Leaney.

Paul McGinley, at six under par, is the best placed of the Irish contingent. The Dubliner, in the golfing doldrums recently and struggling for form, fired his second 68 of the tournament to finish tied for thirteenth position.

Darren Clarke, still on the course, is three under with three holes to play while Belfast’s Michael Hoey carded a 69 to finish three under for the tournament.