Golf: Monty tops the list

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The Independent Online
Colin Montgomerie is the European No 1 for the second successive year. The Scot achieved the feat yesterday without playing a shot when Seve Ballesteros failed to finish first or second in the Chemapol Czech Open, which was won by Sweden's Per-Ulrik Johansson.

Ballesteros had begun the weather-hit tournament pounds 148,000 behind Montgomerie - who did not take part - in the Volvo Order of Merit. The Spaniard had to finish in the first two in Marienbad and then win the final European Tour event at Valderrama next week to overtake Montgomerie on the European money list.

But Johansson, with a superb final round of 66, took the pounds 83,330 first prize on an 11-under-par aggregate of 237, while his fellow Swede, Klas Eriksson, who shot 67 for 240, was second.

Ballesteros, joint 10th on 244 - four under par - after a final round of 70, had to be content with a mere pounds 8,077 but was philosophical at the end of a unique tournament. Because frost made three greens unplayable on the first three days, the first three rounds were played over 15 holes.

Then yesterday, with the tournament well behind schedule, the last round was played over 18 holes in shotgun fashion, the first ever on the official European Tour, with all 70 players starting at the same time from different tees.

It was the only way for the event to be completed before darkness set in, and Ballesteros, though disappointed at losing his chance to challenge Montgomerie, said: 'I tried very hard and played a lot better than my score suggested.

'This has been a hard week for everyone but at least I was here and trying very hard. I have been No 1 six times before but this year it was not to be.

But there are a few years left for me to win another one so all I can say today is 'Congratulations Colin'.'

Ballesteros did not stress the point, but he has played four tournaments less than Montgomerie this year.

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