Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Monty hopes to make Hawaii to Dubai flight worthwhile

Colin Montgomerie  (Getty Images)
                                       Colin Montgomerie (Getty Images)

Colin Montgomerie hopes to make a long journey worthwhile with a strong showing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week.
The Scot has flown in from Hawaii, where he finished second to Jerry Kelly in a US PGA Tour Champions event on Saturday.
Montgomerie won this event in 1996 – one of 31 European Tour titles – and hopes to be competitive in his first event since the 2016 Scottish Open.
“It's a nice place to come, Dubai,” said the 54 year old. “The direction, you have to come from somewhere, but some I wouldn't start from, and Hawaii is one of them. You wouldn't start from the big island of Hawaii, Kona, to get here would you?
“Anyway, here we are, and look forward to this week, I really do. It's always been a special special place this for me on a personal front, and back 22 years ago now, when I won here, but the times that I did come here, and contend here, I really enjoyed it. I think the course has stood the test of time terrifically well over the years.
“It's great this year. Particularly, there's a very strong field, very, very strong field, as strong a field as I haven't witnessed for many, many years here in the Dubai Desert Classic, so everyone's excited about it.”
Montgomerie was pipped to the title by Kelly on Saturday after the American birdied the final hole, but the eight-time European Number One feels his game is in good shape.
“Looking on it, as a positive, it's a very good start to the year,” he added. “Two 65s to start the year with a nine-week break was good. It will be interesting to see where I am in many ways, because I'm playing okay.
“I'm hitting the ball well. I'm finding the fairways. I'm finding the greens and I'm actually holing out okay. It will be interesting to see how I fair under these conditions here. It's a much longer course, and of course the standard of golf, it will be interesting to see how you get on against these young guys that hit the ball well, honestly, 40, 50 yards past me.
“I think the first and foremost thing with anything, is to make the cut here. I'd love to do that. And then obviously from then, try and move on. Success here, I'd be thrilled with a top-20 finish.
"I've got to be realistic because the distance involved, and where the pin placements are nowadays and it's more difficult for me hitting an eight-iron in to these guys hitting a sand wedge. It is harder to get close to the pin with that scenario. But at the same time, course management skills, know my way around here. I personally would be very disappointed if I don't make the cut here.”



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