Golf: Monty pays for poor putting as Fulke wins

GOLF Europe's No 1 fails to cope with tricky, soft greens while Olazabal shows worrying faults in iron play ahead of Ryder Cup
Click to follow
The Independent Online
FOR THE second week running Colin Montgomerie let a tournament slip out of his hands. At Woburn, Bob May completed his maiden pro victory after 22 second places by beating the European No 1. When Monty swept into the lead on the front nine here, the Scot looked as if he would claim the Lancome Trophy for the second time, the first coming shortly before the Ryder Cup in 1995.

But after his third birdie in five holes at the eighth, Montgomerie got stuck. He did not drop a shot in his closing 68 but neither did the putts drop either. This was not for the lack of opportunity but he two-putted every green except the fourth.

Having got to 12 under, a point from which he expected to motor on to his sixth win of the season, Montgomerie was joined on that mark first by the Swede Pierre Fulke and then by the Spaniard Ignacio Garrido. Then both went past before Fulke, a 28-year-old with two runners-up finishes behind him in eight seasons on tour, holed from 25 feet at the last for a maiden victory.

"I hit the ball fantastically, even better than when winning at Loch Lomond," Montgomerie said. "I hit every green it was not as if I was giving myself 35-footers for birdies. They were all around 10 feet. It's sad, really. I should have had this tournament sewn up by the fifth hole."

Montgomerie's personal disappointment will be forgotten by the time he meets the rest of the European Ryder Cup team for their Concorde flight from Heathrow at 11am this morning. But, in addition to the five putters that he had with him here, he will pick up another couple.

As someone who usually only prepares for a tournament with one practice round, Montgomerie had indicated he would rest this afternoon rather than go straight to the Country Club like the others. For an instinctive putter - and the soft greens were tricky last week - it might be the right policy but the sight of Monty on the practice putting green cannot be ruled out.

Nevertheless Mark James, the European captain, left here content with proceedings, not least after his own 68 yesterday. Of those who will do the playing this week at Brookline, the Open champion Paul Lawrie also had a 68, Jarmo Sandelin a 69 and Jean Van de Velde a 71.

But Miguel Angel Jimenez, the overnight leader who was looking for a successful defence of his title, slipped to a 74 and the Masters champion, Jose Maria Olazabal, completed the tournament on a damp note after hitting his tee-shot into the water at the par-three last. Olazabal finished with a double-bogey five in his two-over-par 73.

It was not the preparation the Spaniard was hoping for but, there again, few can turn their games around quicker when inspired. And few are inspired more by the thought of beating the Americans.

"It was a bad day," Ollie said. "I hope I feel better over the next few days. I didn't play well at all. I didn't drive well and I didn't hit my irons well." The former is usual, the latter worrying. Olazabal did not know whether John Jacobs, the coach he occasionally consults, would be in Boston. "If John is not there, I have someone else in mind. A bit of help would be welcome but otherwise, physically and mentally I am ready for the match."

After finishing fourth in the British Masters last week, Greg Owen shared third place here with Monty and Santiago Luna. In two tournaments the 27-year-old from Mansfield has secured his card for next season. Last year, his rookie season, he also needed a late surge to maintain his playing privileges but his 66 was confidently compiled.

Playing alongside Owen, Garrido matched that score in one of his best performances since playing in the Ryder Cup at Valderrama two years ago. There the Spaniard's superb short game helped him to make a strong impression but, like Thomas Bjorn, failed to qualify for a second appearance.

Fulke, who had missed the cut in all his previous appearance in the event, birdied the 11th and the 15th to move into the lead but Monty was looking to close the gap at the par-five 16th. His second went into the crowd on the right but his chip his the flagstick and rebounded six feet away. Typical of his day, the putt never had a chance of going in.

Garrido, who had joined him at 13 under, took a six-iron at the last and found the green. Montgomerie, one behind, flirted with the pond on the right but gave himself a 12-footer to tie but before he could putt, Fulke had his.

"Monty played really well today," Fulke said. "It was obvious from the way he started that if he holed some putts he would be hard to beat. How some of those balls stayed out, I don't know."

FINAL LANCOME TROPHY SCORES

(St-Nom-la-Breteche, Paris) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 270 P Fulke (Swe) 69 69 65 67. 271 I Garrido (Sp) 67 70 68 66. 272 S Luna (Sp) 70 66 70 66; G Owen 73 66 67 66; C Montgomerie 66 70 68 68. 274 G Evans 71 64 73 66; J Sandelin (Swe) 70 66 69 69.

275 M Farry (Fr) 75 68 66 66; S Webster 69 71 68 67. 276 A Cejka (Ger) 64 73 73 66; P Senior (Aus) 66 72 70 68; M McNulty (Zim) 71 69 68 68; A Cabrera (Arg) 71 69 67 69; M A Jimenez (Sp) 68 64 70 74. 277 R Goosen (SA) 78 65 69 65; T Gillis (US) 69 74 66 68; J Coceres (Arg) 66 71 71 69. 278 D Edlund (Swe) 68 71 72 67; R Gonzalez (Arg) 67 72 71 68; P Lawrie 72 68 70 68; J Singh (Ind) 72 67 70 69; C Rocca (It) 68 72 67 71; M Campbell (NZ) 68 68 70 72. 279 R Wessels (SA) 72 70 73 64; J Mellor 69 71 71 68; D Hospital (Spa) 72 71 68 68; R Claydon 67 73 70 69; B May (US) 73 68 68 70; P McGinley 72 69 68 70; T Bjorn (Den) 72 70 67 70.

280 M James 70 70 72 68; S Tinning (Den) 67 72 73 68; S Field 71 67 73 69; S Leaney (Aus) 68 70 73 69; R Muntz (Ned) 68 71 72 69; B Davis 68 72 71 69; E Canonica (Ita) 71 69 70 70; S Kjeldsen (Den) 73 69 68 70; J Van de Velde (Fr) 68 70 71 71. 281 P Quirici (Swit) 69 72 70 70; P O'Malley (Aus) 71 71 68 71; M Tunnicliff 67 73 69 72.

282 I Woosnam 70 70 75 67; B Lane 72 71 72 67; A Wall 72 71 72 67; F Jacobson (Swe) 72 69 70 71; K Eriksson (Swe) 69 73 68 72; J M Olazabaal (Sp) 68 70 71 73. 283 F Lindgren (Swe) 71 72 71 69; M Lanner (Swe) 73 68 73 69. 284 P Mitchell 71 71 74 68; J Rivero (Sp) 67 72 76 69; P Broadhurst 72 71 71 70; S Grappasonni (It) 74 68 71 71; J-F Remesy (Fr) 69 69 74 72; SLittle 72 70 70 72.

285 C Hanell (Swe) 71 69 75 70; D De Vooght (Bel) 70 70 75 70; S Struver (Ger) 75 68 72 70; A Oldcorn 71 69 74 71; D Smyth 69 70 73 73; M A Martin (Sp) 72 69 71 73; S Torrance 68 71 72 74. 286 M Gronberg (Swe) 72 68 78 68; T Johnstone (Zim) 70 73 73 70; A Beal 72 71 73 70; D Gilford 72 71 71 72. 287 M Florioli (It) 68 71 73 75. 288 R McFarlane 70 73 76 69; F Cea (Sp) 71 72 74 71; E Els (SA) 72 69 76 71. 289 J Senden (Aus) 73 70 75 71; R Jacquelin (Fr) 72 71 71 75.

290 M Davis 71 72 76 71; T Levet (Fr) 71 69 76 74; J Moseley (Aus) 75 68 72 75. 291 P-U Johansson (Swe) 70 72 76 73; S Gallacher 69 73 75 74. 292 A Sherborne 74 69 73 76. 293 M Scarpa (It) 70 72 71 80. 294 P Price 73 70 77 74.

Disq: L Parsons (Aus).

Comments