Golf: Merit rivals chase Singh

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The Independent Online
LEE WESTWOOD turned the tables on main rival Colin Montgomerie in today's second round at the Linde German Masters.

The current European No 1 was forced to watch Montgomerie post an opening 65 yesterday before replying with his own six-under-par 66. But when the roles were reversed he gave the Scot, chasing a record sixth consecutive Order of Merit title, a taste of his own medicine with a rock-solid 67 for an 11-under total of 133.

That was good enough for joint second place alongside surprise package Steve Webster, Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin, and one behind the clubhouse leader, Vijay Singh, the US PGA champion adding a 67 to his first-round 65 to stand 12 under.

It could have been even better for the 25-year-old from Worksop, who missed a string of birdie chances before changing his putting stance in time to eagle the seventh hole (his 16th) in a bogey-free round.

That gave Westwood a four-stroke advantage over Montgomerie, who is just pounds 22,000 adrift in the money list, but the Scot soon closed the gap. Three birdies and a bogey in his first 10 holes lifted Montgomerie to nine-under- par, two ahead of Darren Clarke, who is sandwiched between Westwood and Montgomerie in the Order of Merit.

Clarke started at three under and made a superb start to reach seven under after 11 holes, putting himself back in the hunt for the pounds 166,660 first prize. But Clarke began to struggle to convert his chances and stayed on seven under after 14 holes. Montgomerie missed two eagle chances, the second from 12 feet on the 15th, but secured a birdie four to join the group on 11 under.

Clarke's hopes of victory were fading, however, despite a lucky escape at the 16th. His tee shot on the par three stopped just short of the water to the right of the green, but he failed to make the most of his good luck and a bogey dropped him back to six under.

The 16th was proving to be a costly hole as Montgomerie also bogeyed in the group behind Clarke. The Northern Irelander then dropped another shot at the last following a wayward drive to finish with 70 and a five- under-par total.

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