Golf: Parry pays off his debt to O'Malley - Tim Glover reports from Gleneagles

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The Independent Online
IN THE Open Championship at Muirfield in 1987, Peter O'Malley, having failed in his attempt to qualify, caddied for his fellow countryman, Craig Parry. One good turn deserves another and when O'Malley arrived at Gleneagles for the Bell's Scottish Open last week, Parry gave him an invaluable coaching lesson. 'His feet weren't positioned properly and his alignment was all wrong,' Parry said.

On Saturday afternoon Parry, who won the Scottish Open last year, watched the Championship on television in his hotel room and nearly deafened his neighbours as O'Malley produced what is almost certainly the deadliest finish in the history of tournament golf. Colin Montgomerie, en route to a 65, appeared to be heading for a patriotic victory when O'Malley struck with two eagles and three birdies in the last five holes, a gain of seven strokes.

When Montgomerie stood on the 14th tee he was 15 under par for the Championship, O'Malley 11 under. 'I didn't take him into consideration,' Montgomerie admitted. 'I could not have played better than that. The push from the crowd helps but it also adds extra pressure.'

If he will wear the saltire (white cross on a blue background) on his chest, what can he expect? He had it specially made for the Scottish Open and he may wear it during the Open Championship at Muirfield this week. 'It gets everyone going,' he said.

The Scottish Open has a habit of producing unorthodox finishes and irregular winners, and this raises a question mark against the King's course, and its par of 70, as a suitable venue for a blue-blooded championship which carries pounds 600,000 in prize money.

The new Monarch course at Gleneagles, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is scheduled to open later this year, may be a more fitting test.

O'Malley finished two strokes clear of Montgomerie, who occupied second place, a stroke in front of Nick Faldo and Mark McNulty.

'I said at the start of the week that if I finished in the top 10 in a field of this quality, then I would be doing well,' Montgomerie said. 'If I finish ahead of a player like Faldo everything's OK.'

Everything was not OK with Faldo. Like Montgomerie, he shot 65 in the final round, but unlike Montgomerie he did not want to talk about it. The story of Faldo's season thus far is one of near misses, although he has moved to the top of the money list with more than pounds 270,000. Montgomerie, who won pounds 66,660 which takes him past the pounds 1m mark in his five-year professional career, moves up to fourth place.

O'Malley, 27, from Bathurst, near Sydney, won pounds 100,000, which catapulted him to 10th place in the Order of Merit. His first tournament success also made him exempt from Open qualifying - he checked out of the Gleneagles Hotel on Saturday morning and checked in again on Saturday evening - and yesterday he was able to enjoy his second favourite sport, watching the British Grand Prix on television. The four other precious wild cards that opens the door to Muirfield were won by the Italian, Costantino Rocca, Mats Lanner of Sweden, England's Jamie Spence and the Irishman, Philip Walton.

O'Malley, a former Australian junior champion (he thinks his forebears came from Cork) celebrated his outrageous victory in time-honoured fashion. When he rang his father it was 3am in Bathurst and O'Malley had the devil of a job in convincing him that he was talking to the Scottish Open champion. 'Yes dad, I have had a few drinks but I won the bloody championship. Honest.'

BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN (Gleneagles): Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 262 P O'Malley (Aus) 65 70 65 62. 264 C Montgomerie 65 64 70 65. 265 M McNulty (Zim) 68 68 66 63; N Faldo 69 62 69 65. 266 B Langer (Ger) 62 67 67 70. 267 M Lanner (Swe) 64 69 66 68. 269 C Rocca (It) 70 66 68 65; I Woosnam 66 66 70 67; C Parry (Aus) 67 69 66 67. 271 R Davis (Aus) 70 65 67 69; P Senior (Aus) 66 63 72 70; P Walton 66 70 65 70; J Spence 65 67 69 70. 272 L Mize (US) 67 70 68 67; C Mason 69 67 68 68; D Gilford 67 70 67 68. 273 J Rivero (Sp) 68 69 70 66; R Mediate (US) 69 67 68 69; P Curry 68 60 71 74. 274 J Haeggman (Swe) 68 68 71 67; V Singh (Fiji) 69 66 71 68; M A Martin (Sp) 66 67 72 69; T Weiskopf (US) 69 65 71 69; H Clark 69 67 69 69; B Crenshaw (US) 71 64 68 71; R Karlsson (Swe) 70 65 68 71; D Waldorf (US) 66 67 69 72. Selected: 275 S Lyle 66 65 72 72. 277 S Ballesteros (Sp) 70 68 69 70.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT (after Scottish Open): Leading positions (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 N Faldo pounds 270,319.60; 2 T Johnstone (Zim) pounds 256,647.06; 3 A Forsbrand (Swe) pounds 249,058.68; 4 C Montgomerie pounds 203,068.25; 5 J M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 200,023.44; 6 J Rivero (Sp) pounds 179,095.56; 7 P Senior (Aus) pounds 178,899.66; 8 D Gilford pounds 140,570.59; 9 V Singh (Fiji) pounds 134,657.07; 10 P O'Malley (Aus) pounds 128,313.61; 11 M Martin (Sp) pounds 127,991.69; 12 I Woosnam pounds 127,652.43; 13 C O'Connor jnr pounds 124,168.56; 14 S Ballesteros (Sp) pounds 123,688.40; 15 B Langer (Ger) pounds 118,155.82; 16 R Rafferty pounds 115,535.33.

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