COLIN Montgomerie will hit the opening tee shot at Royal Troon on Thursday.

The eight-time European Tour order of merit winner will get the 145th Open under way when he drives off from the first at 6.35am.

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Montgomerie, who grew up playing the Ayrshire course and qualified at Gailes, will be joined in the first group by Luke Donald and Australia’s Mark Leishman.

The Scotsman said it was a “great honour” to get the championship off and running.

Of the headline groups, Masters champion Danny Willett goes at 9.25am with world number 1 Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

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Immediately behind, at 9.36am is the 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, who has Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama for company.

US Open champion Dustin Johnson has a later start, going off at 2.04pm with Russell Knox and Martin Kaymer.

Jordan Spieth’s challenge gets under way at 9.03am, along with Justin Rose and US Open contender Shane Lowry.

The defending champion Zach Johnson finds himself in a three ball with Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott at 2.15pm.

Thursday groupings…(Friday tee times in brackets)

6.35am (11.36am): Colin Montgomerie (Sco), Marc Leishman (Aus), Luke Donald (Eng)

6.46am (11.47am): Steven Alker (Nzl), Marcus Fraser (Aus), Sanghee Lee (Kor)

6.57am (11.58am): Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Jon Rahm (Esp), Ryan Palmer (USA)

7.08am (12.09pm): Sandy Lyle (Sco), Scott Gregory (a) (Eng), David Duval (USA)

7.19am (12.20pm): Richie Ramsay (Sco), Danny Lee (Nzl), Harris English (USA)

7.30am (12.31pm): Alex Noren (Swe), Steven Bowditch (Aus), Kevin Chappell (USA)

7.41am (12.42pm): Darren Clarke (NIr), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Jim Furyk (USA)

7.52am (12.53pm): Justin Thomas (USA), David Lingmerth (Swe), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)

8.03am (1.04pm): Branden Grace (Rsa), Patrick Reed (USA). Byeong Hun An (Kor)

8.14am (1.15pm): Paul Lawrie (Sco), Brandt Snedeker (USA), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

8.25am (1.26pm): Padraig Harrington (Ire), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Jamie Donaldson (Wal)

8.36am (1.37pm): Scott Piercy (USA), Paul Dunne (Ire), Jamie Lovemark (USA)

8.47am (1.48pm): Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Jimmy Walker (USA), Scott Hend (Aus)

9.03am (2.04pm): Jordan Spieth (USA), Justin Rose (Eng), Shane Lowry (Ire)

9.14am (2.15pm): Ross Fisher (Eng), Steve Stricker (USA), Vijay Singh (Fij)

9.25am (2.26pm): Danny Willett (Eng), Rickie Fowler (USA), Jason Day (Aus)

9.36am (2.37pm): Rory McIlroy (NIr), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Bubba Watson (USA)

9.47am (2.48pm): Gary Woodland (USA), James Morrison (Eng), Soomin Lee (Kor)

9.58am (2.59pm): Smylie Kaufman (USA), Chris Kirk (USA), George Coetzee (Rsa)

10.09am (3.10pm): Billy Horschel (USA), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn)

10.20am (3.21pm): Matteo Manassero (Ita), Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Russell Henley (USA)

10.31am (3.32pm): Kodai Ichihara (Jpn), Robert Rock (Eng), William McGirt (USA)

10.42am (3.43pm): Brendan Steele (USA), Richard Sterne (Rsa), Matt Jones (Aus)

10.53am (3.54pm): Patton Kizzire (USA), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Rod Pampling (Aus)

11.04am (4.05pm): Dave Coupland (Eng), Nathan Holman (Aus), Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha)

11.15am (4.16pm): Scott Fernandez (Esp), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Haydn Porteous (Rsa)

11.36am (6.35am): Greg Chalmers (Aus), Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Clement Sordet (Fra)

11.47am (6.46am): David Howell (Eng), Seung Yul Noh (Kor), Tony Finau (USA)

11.58am (6.57am): Jordan Niebrugge (USA), Nick Cullen (Aus), Robert Streb (USA)

12.09pm (7.08am): Ben Curtis (USA), Stefano Mazzoli (a) (Ita), John Daly (USA)

12.20pm (7.19am): Francesco Molinari (Ita), Kevin Kisner (USA), KT Kim (Kor)

12.31pm (7.30am): Todd Hamilton (USA), Justin Leonard (USA) Mark Calcavecchia (USA)

12.42pm (7.41am): Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Lasse Jensen (Den), Bill Haas (USA)

12.53pm (7.52am): Paul Casey (Eng), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Kevin Na (USA)

1.04pm (8.03am): Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Joost Luiten (Ned) Charley Hoffman (USA)

1.15pm (8.14am): Graeme McDowell (NIr), Matt Kuchar (USA), Andrew Johnston (Eng)

1.26pm (8.25am): Phil Mickelson (USA), Lee Westwood (Eng), Ernie Els (Rsa)

1.37pm (8.36am): Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), James Hahn (USA), Andy Sullivan (Eng)

1.48pm (8.47am): Ryan Moore (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)

2.04pm (9.03am): Dustin Johnson (USA), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Russell Knox (Sco)

2.15pm (9.14am): Zach Johnson (USA), Adam Scott (Aus), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

2.26pm (9.25am): Chris Wood (Eng), Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn), Mark O’Meara (USA)

2.37pm (9.36am): Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp), Jason Dufner (USA), Marc Warren (Sco)

2.48pm (9.47am): Anirban Lahiri (Ind), Sergio Garcia (Esp), Keegan Bradley (USA)

2.59pm (9.58am): Webb Simpson (USA), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Thomas Pieters (Bel)

3.10pm (10.09am): Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp), JB Holmes (USA), Brandon Stone (Rsa)

3.21pm (10.20am): Marco Dawson (USA), Matthew Southgate (Eng), Yosuke Tsukada (Jpn)

3.32pm (10.31am): Jack Senior (Eng), James Heath (Eng), Brian Gay (USA)

3.43pm (10.42am): Jim Herman (USA), Fabian Gomez (Arg), Anthony Wall (Eng)

3.54pm (10.53am): Paul Howard (Eng), Daniel Summerhays (USA), Colt Knost (USA)

4.05pm (11.04am): Oskar Arvidsson (Swe), Harold Varner III (USA), Tyrell Hatton (Eng)

4.16pm (11.15am): Ryan Evans (Eng), Callum Shinkwin (Eng), Zander Lombard (Rsa)

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