Golf: Monty on the attack

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The Independent Online
With an air of inevitability all too sickeningly familiar to those who play the European tour, Colin Montgomerie moved into the lead during the third round of the Lancome Trophy yesterday. But unfortunately for him, the US tour player Jesper Parnevik is here and determined to show his value to Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Where Montgomerie had dropped his only shot of the day at the par-three last, Parnevik holed a putt from 60 feet to take a one-shot lead at nine under. Both men shot a four-under 66 for the round, while Ian Woosnam, who had been tied with the Swede at the start of the day, slipped back with a 70.

Montgomerie declared: "I am only one behind, I'm confident and I'm looking forward to retaining my title." He is also aiming for his second victory in a row to increase his lead over Woosnam at the top of the money list. Three birdies in the first four holes helped Montgomerie to an advantage and he almost holed his second shot at the 17th.

But of Parnevik, who is ineligible for the Ryder Cup qualifying points list, the Scotsman added: "Jesper is a very impressive player and I just hope we have enough wild cards to select him. He is definitely in the top 12 in Europe and he should be in the team. Look at what is happening in the Presidents Cup. We are going to need the best team we can get."

Nick Faldo responded to criticisms from Bernard Gallacher, the former Ryder Cup captain, that by holding secret meetings leading players were damaging the tour, after around 50 of them attended a meeting called by Seve Ballesteros on Tuesday after concern about the standard of courses at the recent German Open and British Masters.

Faldo argued: "There is nothing devious in sitting in a room talking about the condition of the golf courses. That's constructive. It is the number one gripe on tour and Collingtree Park was the last straw. I said the same thing two years ago and got shot down in flames. Now guys are trying to push that message. I agree with Seve that tougher courses, tougher pins will breed better golfers. In America, the guys are not just under pressure trying to win a tournament, but from the golf course as well. All we want to know is that the team responsible for courses is the absolute best."

But when asked if the meeting called for heads to roll, Faldo replied: "Absolutely not. It is the greens we want to roll."

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