Robbo returns

Paisley's Dean Robertson bounces back from illness to lead the Spanish Open in Girona, a "brand new" man he says!

Martin Park
Fri, 28 Apr 2000

Robbo returns

The question on everybody's lips surrounding the European Tour was "Where has Dean Robertson gone"? Today, the 1999 Italian Open Champion bounced back with a reminder of where he has been and that has not forgotten to play the game after being off the tour since last years World Cup in Malaysia.

Robertson met up with the European Tour after four months away with a crippling stomach virus that confined him to his bed for the best part of the year so far. And in his first tournament of the year, the 29 year-old from Paisley near Glasgow equalled the course record 65 around the Girona course.

Robertson fired an eagle and eight birdies on his way to a 65, but it could have been two shots better as the Scot bogeyed the last two holes to hold only a one shot lead going into round two.

Australian Nick O'Hern and Spain's Juan Quiros are one shot adrift with defending Spanish Open Champion Jarmo Sandelin and Colin Montgomerie are two shots further back.

Monty has changed his putter to a "See-More" putter as used by the late Payne Stewart when he won the US Open at Pinehurst. The Big Scot carded a first round 67, and received a much needed boost to his quest for an 8th straight order of merit title seeing a few putts drop for once this year.

"I feel a lot more comfortable with my putting" Said the Big Scot". "It was good, better today. I missed a few on the back nine, had a good chance on the 16th but I made a couple of good twenty footers on the last two holes for a good finish".

Monty also gave credit to the man temporarily replacing his regular caddy, Alistair Maclean, who is on "honeymoon duties" in the Far East.

"Pete Coleman was great on the bag, you understand why Langer is so damn good. I feel very comfortable with him. Nice start at 5-under and a very good position to be in and that is exactly what I wanted to do".

But the day belonged to Robertson who admitted that he was nervous about his reintroduction to the tour.

"I was very nervous at the first couple of holes because I just didn't know what to expect after such a long time off. Now I'm absolutely elated because I had no expectations whatsoever".

"But I've come back this week with 10 new clubs in the bag, new ball, new shoes, new hat, new clothes …and I'm feeling brand-new. "It was jumping right in at the deep end today but I'm getting the buzz again and this is a nice wee tonic.

And to top his day off, Scotland's number One player, Monty, gave encouragement to Robertson, his playing partner in last years ill-fated World Cup.

"Dean has all the credit. He is the leader at 7-under after having four months off with illness. That means it is a great effort, especially with such a strong field, the strongest field this year on tour"

The question is now, can Robertson stand the next 54 holes with such a lack of competitive experience…he seems to thinks so.

"I am striking the ball as well as I did last year when I won in Italy." Said the Paisley player. We await a fairytale result come Monday!