Vienna, June 9:
Scotlandâ€™s Colin Montgomerie declared his intention to win the BA-CA Austrian Open after a four-under-par opening round of 67 left him just two off the lead here on Thursday.
The Scot has been through a mini-slump in the last couple of months but fourth place last week at the Celtic Manor Wales Open lifted his spirits. And the fact he knows the Fontana course just outside Vienna very well.
Austriaâ€™s Markus Brier gave the home crowds plenty to cheer after holing his seven-iron tee shot at the 158-yard 11th to win a 12,000-pound Citroen. That sparked his round into life and a five-under-par back nine lifted him into the lead on six under, one ahead of a group including Englandâ€™s Oliver Whiteley and Simon Dyson who carded 66s. Montgomerie twice found himself in trouble on par fives â€” the 18th and the ninth â€” but recovered superbly to get up and down. His second to the 18th was pulled into the grandstand and so he was able to go to the drop zone from where he executed an exquisite chip to two and a half feet.
At the 528-yard ninth his approach found a nursery of small trees but was able to gain relief from where he was able to get up and down for birdie, a sign of growing confidence.