NAPLES, Fla. (AP) As Colin Montgomerie wasted chance after chance for birdies on the front nine, his caddie told him to be patient.
Montgomerie – with a flustered smile – said he wanted to knock him out.
Turns out the caddie was right.
Montgomerie warmed up with his putter on the back nine and had five birdies in an eight-hole stretch Friday, shooting a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead in the Champion Tour’s ACE GroupClassic at TwinEagles Golf Club on Friday.
Montgomerie holds a one-shot lead over Tommy Armour III who’s at 5-under 67.
Kirk Triplett, the defending ACE Group Classic champion, is tied for third at 4 under with Lee Janzen.
After knocking down a 40-footer for birdie to start the day on No. 1, Montgomerie shot well but kept getting pars.
“This is what caddies are paid for, to actually tell you to be patient,” Montgomerie said. “Then you almost hit them over the head because you’ve got three rounds, not four, and patience never won a bloody thing, not in a three-round event. A four-round event is different, but not a three-round event. You can’t afford to be patient, you’ve got to go for it.”
Montgomerie said he had a super putt at No. 12 because there was a left-to-right wind. His birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17 were from 12 and 8 feet went directly into the wind.
“So delighted with 66, it’s a good start,” he said.
After finishing sixth at The Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Armour followed with a round Friday that included three birdies on the both the front and back nine. He had a bogey on No. 14.
Armour is experimenting with AimPoint, a system used to read greens, for the past two months. He had four putts of more than 12 feet, including a 40-footer on No. 6 for one of his six birdies.
“I basically retooled my putting completely,” he said. “I used to plumb bob when I putted and now I hardly ever plumb bob.
“It’s still a progress. I putted the other way and all the other things for 40 years but I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “I’m having fun with it.”
The week after being taught AimPoint, Armour went to the Carmel Callaway Invitational at Pebble Beach and won in a playoff.
“I mean, I made that 12-footer on the last hole and I just, you know, I just kind of felt like I knew how the putt was going to break. It wasn’t like I was guessing.”
Paul Goydos, who won last week at the Allianz Championship, is three shots back at 3-under.
Bernhard Langer, who had five victories last season as well as 18 top-10 finishes in 2014, is at 1-under.