Leader Monty caught in storm

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie was involved in a player protest at the French Open here yesterday after producing some of his finest form.

The Scot was sharing the lead with England's Jonathan Lomas and the New Zealander, Michael Campbell, at Le Golf National just outside the capital, when his Spanish playing partner, Miguel Angel Martin, refused to continue because of the threat of lightning.

While other matches continued, Martin, Montgomerie and the South African Roger Wessels stood around on the 17th tee waiting for a decision to be taken. After 15 minutes, play was suspended, because of the players' strike rather than an actual lightning strike.

"Under the rules they were perfectly entitled to stop, but I was not going to suspend play otherwise," John Paramor, the chief referee, said. "According to our lightning detection equipment it was not necessary, but when the players started to bunch up behind Montgomerie, Martin and Wessels I took the decision for everybody to stop."

Martin said: "I couldn't see any lightning, but I heard thunder - it's crazy."

Montgomerie, who had been willing to play on, was also among the players unhappy about the timing of the suspension of play on Friday, because of a thunderstorm.

The Scot was among 62 players who had returned to the course at dawn because of the second-round hold-up, and he played the last four holes in one under to be four behind the halfway leaders Jarmo Sandelin, Fernando Roca and Anders Hansen.

After setting off again three hours later - in dazzling sunshine - Montgomerie, chasing his first victory of the season, went to the turn in a brilliant 31. He also had a birdie at the long 14th, chipping to two feet, but behind him Campbell and Lomas kept pace. The New Zealander turned in 34 and then added an 18-foot birdie on the 11th, while had four birdies in five holes before the turn, bogeyed the 10th and 12th, but then birdied the next two just before the stoppage.

Collated scores and totals after the third round of the Novotel Perrier French Open at Le Golf National, Paris. (GB & Irl unless stated, par 72):

(x) denotes amateur

204 C Montgomerie 71 68 65 205 M Campbell (Nzl) 70 66 69, J Lomas 72 64 69 207 R Davis (Aus) 69 68 70, A Coltart 69 68 70, F Roca (Spa) 67 68 72 208 C Rodiles (Spa) 70 70 68 209 S Luna (Spa) 72 70 67, A Cejka (Ger) 70 70 69, D Park 71 69 69, A Hansen (Den) 70 65 74 210 S Rowe 70 72 68, D Gilford 73 69 68, J Van de Velde (Fra) 68 74 68, S Hansen (Den) 68 74 68, F Jacobson (Swe) 71 70 69, J Senden (Aus) 73 67 70, MA Martin (Spa) 69 70 71, A Binaghi (Ita) 66 73 71, N O'Hern (Aus) 69 70 71, J Haeggman (Swe) 69 68 73 211 R Karlsson (Swe) 71 72 68, R Byrd (USA) 69 71 71, P O'Malley (Aus) 68 75 68, S Leaney (Aus) 71 72 68, S Struver (Ger) 73 67 71, R Wessels (Rsa) 69 70 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 69 72, R Green (Aus) 73 71 67 212 G Owen 70 72 70, J Coceres (Arg) 70 71 71 213 S Gallacher 72 70 71, R Coles 74 68 71, M Mackenzie 73 68 72, N Joakimides (Fra) 73 69 71, E Romero (Arg) 73 67 73, R Gonzalez (Arg) 74 70 69, S Tinning (Den) 69 70 74, J Sandelin (Swe) 68 67 78, G Murphy 76 69 68 214 J-F Remesy (Fra) 70 70 74, G Rojas (Arg) 70 73 71, N Vanhootegem (Bel) 70 74 70, O Edmond (Fra) 70 74 70, V Phillips 76 69 69 215 B Dredge 71 71 73, J Spence 73 69 73, S Ballesteros (Spa) 72 71 72, D Smyth 70 73 72, C Hainline (USA) 72 71 72, R Winchester 69 71 75, B Davis 71 73 71, S Allan (Aus) 68 77 70 216 S Delagrange (Fra) 73 70 73, A Wall 71 72 73, G Hamerton 71 72 73, R Goosen (Rsa) 73 70 73, A Forsyth 73 71 72, P Lonard (Aus) 70 70 76, B Teilleria (Fra) 72 72 72, I Poulter 77 68 71, T Levet (Fra) 75 70 71 217 O Eliasson (Swe) 72 70 75, D Lynn 73 72 72, M Jonzon (Swe) 71 74 72, I Garrido (Spa) 72 73 72 218 M Gronberg (Swe) 71 72 75, P Golding 73 70 75, P McGinley 70 74 74 219 R Claydon 72 71 76, (x) B Lecuona (Fra) 70 73 76, P Baker 74 69 76, R Jacquelin (Fra) 75 69 75, G Ogilvy (Aus) 74 70 75, F Tarnaud (Fra) 74 71 74 220 J Rivero (Spa) 70 75 75 221 L Alexandre (Fra) 71 74 76 222 P-U Johansson (Swe) 72 73 77 224 M Cain (Aus) 74 70 80

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