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Montgomerie hoping to regain putting touch

Colin Montgomerie hopes his improved putting will continue this weekend when the Scot aims to recapture the French Open title and build towards the next opportunity to put an end to his major jinx.

After winning the title the last time the event was staged at Le Golf National in Paris two years ago, a repeat victory on Sunday would be the perfect start to a five-week run he is using as his warm-up for the second major of the year, next month’s US Open in New York. And Monty feels that is making a new putter and new putting style work.

"I’m really looking forward to the next five weeks and I feel as if my putting is coming around. Finishing seventh in the putting stats at the Masters, for me that is dramatic. I’ve never been in the top 57, let alone seventh.

"That was dramatic for me to get my putting sorted out. If it is to be found out it will be found out there.

"I’ve had a good week off, practised hard and come here. I’m really looking forward to this run of five tournaments."

The 38-year-old is buoyed by memories of past success in the forthcoming events as he looks to capture his first tournament of the season.

"It’s nice to have a feeling of ‘I’ve done it before, why not do it again?"’ said Montgomerie. "It’s a good course here and takes a bit of bottle coming in the last few holes."

His bottle was certainly not lacking in 2000 when he eagled the par-five 14th and repeated the trick on the 18th to hold off Jonathan Lomas.

"I’m playing the next five events - French Open, Benson & Hedges International, Deutsche Bank Open, PGA Championship and British Masters - and I’ve won four of them and finished second in the Deutsche Bank," Montgomerie pointed out.

"I am going over to New York early, possibly at the end of the previous week, to acclimatise and give myself every opportunity. I’ve tried it all ways, so this is my ‘n’th option and we’ll see how it goes."

Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal defends his title this week and has already won on both sides of the Atlantic this season.

Montgomerie and Olazabal will start favourites to win the £205,000 first prize, but have an unusual obstacle to overcome.

The 15th green was re-laid just two weeks ago after it became the roosting and feeding ground for hundreds of wild geese and seagulls which destroyed the surface of the green by eating the grass and covering it in their droppings.

The new surface is not up to the standard of the rest of the course, but tournament officials are hopeful it will provide a reasonable temporary measure.


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