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Lee Westwood must get off to flyer, says Monty

Former European number one Colin Montgomerie believes the first day of this week's Open Championship at Royal Lytham will define Lee Westwood's chances of winning the Claret Jug and breaking his Major duck.

The 39-year-old Worksop golfer has come closer than anyone to winning one of the big four tournaments without actually doing so in the last few years, recording seven top-three finishes in his last 16 outings.

Montgomerie knows a thing or two about near-misses, having had five runners-up places and one third in 71 Majors.

And having watched Westwood force his way into contention with some battling performances he wants his former Ryder Cup team-mate to lead from the front.

“He started the US Open (last month) with a double bogey and he must have thought ‘What the hell?',” said the Scot.

“He did awfully well to get into contention at all (eventually finishing joint 10th after losing a ball up a tree in his final round).

“At least he won't start with a double here because it's a par three so he will get a better start than he did at the US Open.

“The trouble Lee has had is he hasn't managed to get that lead so the Thursday round is most important for him to get into contention early and then he can fight through.

“What he is (often) trying to do is come back into contention and it is very difficult because the standard is so high and the guys ahead of him are less fearful than they used to be and they don't back off like they used to.

“It is more difficult to come from behind that way than it used to be.”

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