Allenby puts his faith in patience

BRITISH MASTERS GOLF: Exodus of the disaffected keeps growing as Montgomerie finds grounds for complaint
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And then there were two. Under par that is. The exodus from the One 2 One British Masters did not reach epidemic proportions but the only men in red figures after three rounds are Robert Allenby at five under and Pedro Linhart a shot behind. The prize for the most ill-timed use of the sponsor's product went to Mike Harwood, who called in to find out his early morning tee time, only to be told it was 20 minutes earlier.

The Australian became the 13th man to bring his participation in the pounds 700,000 tournament a premature conclusion, not that the thought has not occurred to others. Allenby and Linhart, who returned a day's best 67, are probably the only two for whom it has not crossed their minds.

"We have all come close to walking out," Colin Montgomerie admitted. What the Scot did do was walk straight off the 10th tee into the Portakabin office of the tournament director, Mike Stewart . "The conversation was between me and Mike," Montgomerie said, but witnesses describe it as "animated".

Montgomerie said: "I am very disappointed for the fans. August and September is when courses in England should be in their best condition. The lady scorer from a club nearby said all the other courses in the area are in good condition."

Montgomerie finished with four bogeys, and his only two birdies, in his last six holes of a 77 which leaves him 10 shots behind the lead.

Ian Woosnam, needing to retain his lead at the top of the Volvo Ranking to ensure a place in October's World Match Play Championship, made birdies at the last two holes for a 71 which leaves him one over. At level are Miguel Martin and Costantino Rocca, who would have been entitled to walk out when he played the last nine holes on Thursday being unable to hold the club properly after being stung by a bee.

The much talked-about greens did not have much to do with Daniel Chopra taking a 10 at the last - one drive out of bounds, another unplayable, a visit to sand and three putts - or the joint overnight leaders both taking double-bogey sixes at the first. Mark Roe drove out of bounds and never recovered. Allenby took four to get down from behind the green but battled back for a 71, with a birdie at the last to edge ahead.

"The guy who is the most patient is going to win and I feel I have a lot of patience at the moment," said Allenby, who has already won the English and French Opens this year. "There is always going to be a lot of whingeing in a situation like this, but hey, there's a golf tournament to play and you have to get on with it. Tomorrow I'm going to play smartly aggressive, which is no different from the last three days."

As an antipodean, Allenby has no interest in the Ryder Cup, although he has been selected by Peter Thomson as a wild card pick for the Rest of the World (excluding Europe) team that will take on the Americans in the President's Cup in two weeks' time.

Its forerunner does not seem to interest Linhart either and he is not impressed by the possibility of leading the European Ryder Cup standings (after one event) tonight. Born in Spain of American parents, he was known as Peter when playing mini-tours in the States but now has Spanish citizenship. "The Ryder Cup is a good event to watch on TV, but I'd hate to play in it," he said. "Too much pressure."

Scores, Digest, page 25