Montgomerie blasts 65, catches Lonard


MELBOURNE, Australia -- Colin Montgomerie entered the
Heineken Classic ranked No. 73 in the world. The way he's playing,
that should change in a hurry.

Montgomerie, the runner-up at last week's Caltex Masters in
Singapore, had six birdies and no bogeys Friday in a 6-under-par 65
that left him tied with Australia's Peter Lonard for the
second-round lead.
"The last two days here, I have been hitting the fairways and
then hitting the greens," the 41-year-old Scotsman said. "And I
holed nine putts, so we are doing OK."
Montgomerie and Lonard (68) are at 9-under 133, a shot ahead of
Australia's Jarrod Lyle and South Africa's Trevor Immelman.
Ernie Els, trying to win the event for the fourth straight year,
had a 64 -- the best round of the tournament -- and is three shots
"Today was an easy day," said Els, who had a 60 last year in
the first round. "There was no wind, so you could be aggressive. I
just wanted to make the cut, to be honest."
Greg Norman and Nick Faldo didn't make it to the weekend.
Norman, grimacing on some shots because of recurring back problems,
shot a 73 Friday to go with an opening 76 and a two-round total of
7-over 149, well off the cut of par-142. Faldo, playing for the
first time in two months, was at 144 after a 66.
Montgomerie said the greens were starting to firm up after heavy
rain Wednesday and Thursday. That could make for difficult putting
this weekend at Royal Melbourne, the course used for the 1998
Presidents Cup.
"I'm sure tomorrow they will be taking the breaks further," he
said. "You have to be more careful."
Immelman, who shared the first-round lead with Lonard and Steve
Webster, had a 69. Lyle shot a 66 while Webster was four shots back
after a 72.
Lyle, 23, spent nine months in the hospital six years ago with
leukemia and was just happy to be playing.
"I was looking at the leaderboard and realized all the big
names that were up there," he said. "I guess I may have started
getting a bit nervous."