Colin Montgomerie will continue his quest to land the biggest title in senior golf next month when he tees it up in his seventh Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham & St Annes from July 25-28.
The eight-time European No.1, who turns 56 next week, has come agonisingly close to winning the championship in the past and is hoping that his seventh attempt can secure the spoils when the event returns to the Lancashire coast for the first time since 1994.
Montgomerie finished runner-up to runaway winner Bernhard Langer at Royal Porthcawl in 2014, and took third place at Sunningdale the following year behind American Marco Dawson. Next month, the Scot will be competing in his 32nd Senior Major Championship since turning 50 and is confident that Royal Lytham & St Annes will provide the springboard towards capturing a fourth Senior Major.
Montgomerie won consecutive Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championships in the United States in 2014 and 2015, and added the US Senior Open title to his haul of senior silverware five years ago. In addition to those successes, he has enjoyed a further eight top-ten finishes in senior majors.
He shared 13th place behind David Duval in The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2001, having missed the halfway cut at the same venue in 1996. However, he feels fit and ready to do himself justice.
Montgomerie said: “I’m really looking forward to coming back to Royal Lytham & St Annes. I recall clearly the 65 I shot in the first round of The Open in 2001. I led by three and was still in front at halfway, but unfortunately didn’t quite manage to finish off the job. I’ve been close in The Senior Open, especially at Sunningdale in 2015 and I know that if I play well and putt well I can definitely contend. The Lancashire coast is a great catchment area for tournament golf, and I think we can expect large crowds and a great event.”
Montgomerie knows that hazards which await at Lytham from past experience. He added: “The challenge is simple – stay out of the bunkers. There are more bunkers on this course than any other on The Open rota and staying out of the sand is the key to doing well. If you get into the bunkers there is a wall of horror in front of you! I love the course, but to perform well you have to be on the fairway.”
Defending champion next month is Miguel Angel Jiménez, who will be joined by an impressive array of champions in Langer, Tom Lehman, Darren Clarke, Paul Lawrie, Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen.