Donald (below) completed his preparations for St George’s by mounting a comeback from four behind at the start of the day. The Englishman narrowed that to one by completing a second-round 67, then, with the tournament cut to 54 holes, he closed with a 63 to finish four clear of the field on 19 under par.
Montgomerie, meanwhile, needed a top five finish at Castle Stuart to ensure his presence at the Open for a 22nd year in a row. He briefly held a share of the lead when he birdied the par-five sixth. However, a double-bogey on the short 11th not only cost him a shot at victory in the Highlands but also an opportunity to seal his Open place.
“It was going well and then I sort of ran out of puff,” said the 48-year-old former Ryder Cup captain.
“It was always too soon, too short. So there you go. A week off next week.”