Golf: Monty nears heaven's gate

BETWEEN THEM, Lee Westwood and Colin Montgomerie have won the last five tournaments they have played in Europe and, though the streak looks like continuing at the Victor Chandler British Masters today, it is the Scot who should be victorious at Woburn.

More than a routine third round of 68 that took Montgomerie, who has dropped only one stroke in 54 holes, to 17 under par, his position of strength was reinforced by Westwood's strange collapse. While others birdied the first, he parred the first two and then lost his approach at the third in a bush on the right of the green.

The mistake cost Westwood a double-bogey and with two bogeys as well, it took four birdies, including two at the last two holes, to get back to level for the day. Although Westwood came from seven behind to beat Darren Clarke at the European Open last month, closing the same gap against Montgomerie might be a different matter, so his hopes of winning for the fourth time in a row - a feat last achieved by Nick Faldo ten years ago - look slim.

Instead, Monty's nearest challengers will be the American Bob May, who equalled the last to be just three behind, and Eduardo Romero, the veteran from Argentina at 12 under. Both scored 66s, Romero's beginning inauspiciously with bogeys at the first three holes but including nine birdies in the last 12 holes.

The task facing the pursuers today, however, was summed up when Romero said: "Monty is too hard to beat, but I'll be trying. He is a fantastic player. For me, he is one of the best in the world. He does everything well. I don't know why he can't win in America."

Nor does Montgomerie, but winning in Britain is another matter. Victory today would be his fourth in six British outings. The Benson and Hedges, Volvo PGA and Loch Lomond are already his, while the ones to get away were the English Open and, of course, the Open Championship. Today, Monty can also record his third successive win in Europe and sixth this season, in a span of 11 events.

The official European tour media guide states that seven wins in a year have previously been achieved by the Australian Norman von Nida in 1947 and Belgium's Flory van Donck in 1953. But in modern times, the record number of victories is six by Seve Ballesteros in 1986 and Faldo in 1992. Even then, Ballesteros only tied for the Lancome Trophy that year because darkness forced the abandonment of his play-off with Bernhard Langer. Faldo's half-dozen includes two unofficial events, the World Match Play and the World Championship, the latter not even taking place in Europe but in Jamaica.

After Paul Lawrie, on his first appearance in Britain since becoming the Open champion, missed the cut on Friday, there was better news yesterday of another Ryder Cup newcomer. Jarmo Sandelin, who only qualified for the weekend on the cut-off mark of one under, scored a six-under 66.

The big-hitting Swede, who won twice earlier in the year to book his place at Brookline, was almost back to his best, although he was self- deprecating enough to say that his round would have constituted a "bad day for Montgomerie. My target," he added, "is to improve my game to his level but I have a long way to go. Monty, I think, is in heaven."

Sandelin has never used a professional caddie prior to this week and his new partnership with Tim King, who has worked for Per-Ulrik Johansson at the Ryder Cup, is set to continue. Linda Lundberg, Sandelin's girlfriend and regular caddie, has instead being following from outside the ropes.

"With Tim working for me, it takes a lot of pressure off," Sandelin said. "He's a smart guy and has a good control of everything that is going on. I think we will probably stay together for next week and the Ryder Cup. Linda doesn't look too sad at not having to work."

"Any time that I can emulate two players such as Seve and Nick, I am very happy," said Montgomerie, who won the same British Masters title last year. "I have won six orders of merit and if I can overtake Seve with a seventh, that would be very pleasing, too. I'm in a strong position to defend and, if I get to 20 under, I'll shake the hand of anyone who gets to 21 under."

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Hydrographic Survey Manager

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Structural Engineer

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Structural Engineer Job...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Head of IT (Not-for-Profit sector) - East Sussex

£45000 - £50000 per annum + 5 weeks holiday & benefits: Ashdown Group: Head of...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape