Colin Montgomerie will return to the British Open for the first time in six years after qualifying for golf’s oldest championship Tuesday.
The 53-year-old Scot earned the last of three spots from the final qualifying site of Gailes Link to book his ticket to Royal Troon later this month. Montgomerie posted scores of 66 and 71 for a 5-under total he waited two hours to see if it would hold up. Indeed it did, as only Oskar Arvidsson (10 under) and Scott Fernandez (6 under) defeated (or matched) Montgomerie’s total.
It will be Montgomerie’s first appearance at the Open since 2010, when he finished T-68 at St. Andrews. That appearance was his last of 21 consecutive showings at the event.
The intervening absence may not have been ideal, but Montgomerie could not have returned at a better time. The Scot is a member at Royal Troon, and his father, James, served as club secretary at the course.
It was a last shot to play in an Open at Troon, and he earned it.
“If I was going to play one Open, it would be this one as my qualifying days are behind me after this,” Montgomerie said. “I’ll never play another at Troon because it comes back, what every 12 years, and I’ll be gone by then, so this gives me an opportunity to play and I think I can say this meant more to me than, with all respect to everyone else, to anyone else playing here.”
In those 21 previous appearances at the year’s third major, Montgomerie has finished in the top 10 twice with a best showing of runner up in 2005. He placed 24th at Troon in 1997 and 25th in 2004.
Montgomerie has found new life since moving onto the PGA Tour Champions in 2013, earning three senior majors thus far. But obviously an unexpected return to competition against the young guns is welcome.
“It means the world to me,” said Montgomerie.
– Information from the R&A and Associated Press was used in this report