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Montgomerie begins the British Open, with a slight wobble

Golf-British Open - Scotland's Colin Montgomerie walks off the first tee during the first round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 14/07/2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Golf-British Open - Scotland's Colin Montgomerie walks off the first tee during the first round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 14/07/2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

By Larry King

TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - Colin Montgomerie stepped onto the tee and hit a 220-yard shot down the fairway to begin the British Open at Royal Troon on Thursday, making his first appearance in an Open in six years and what may well be his last.

He found trouble with his second shot, plugging it in one of Troon's deep greenside bunkers. With playing partners Marc Leishman and Luke Donald waiting safely on the green, Montgomerie needed two shots to get out of the bunker, the second of them chopped backwards away from the green.

Meanwhile, Donald rolled in his putt for the first birdie of the Open. Leishman followed with the second. Montgomerie made a decent pitch onto the green and putted out to get up and down - but he walked off the first hole with a double bogey.

Montgomerie has never won a major championship and is highly unlikely to win this one.

Those given the best chance of winning were sprinkled through the field behind him - Louis Oosthuizen at 8.36 a.m. local time, then Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry playing together half an hour later.

And a few minutes later, at 9.25 local time, were Danny Willett, the current Masters champion; Rickie Fowler: and Jason Day, one of the two pre-championship favourites. Immediately behind that group were Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson.

Coming along later in the day, at 14.04, was the other pre-championship favourite, Dustin Johnson, playing alongside Martin Kaymer and Russell Knox.

The early leaders are South Korea's Lee Sanghee and Australian Leishman at 2 under par.

Montgomerie got back to level par with two birdies and narrowly missed a third. He will not go without a fight.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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