Montgomerie masters the world

Scot plays superbly to deny O'Meara chance of retaining title of leading matchplay exponent

COLIN MONTGOMERIE capped a superlative three days of golf over the West Course with victory for first time in the Cisco World Match Play Championship. Montgomerie, who defeated the holder, Mark O'Meara, 3 and 2 in yesterday's final, was 29 under par for his 99 holes, which contained only four bogeys.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE capped a superlative three days of golf over the West Course with victory for first time in the Cisco World Match Play Championship. Montgomerie, who defeated the holder, Mark O'Meara, 3 and 2 in yesterday's final, was 29 under par for his 99 holes, which contained only four bogeys.

Although not an Order of Merit event, this was Montgomerie's sixth win in his last 14 events in Europe, equalling the modern record of Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo. Montgomerie won £170,000 yesterday; in 19 European tour-sanctioned events, he is averaging over £75,000 a tournament.

"This is special," said Montgomerie, who won for the fourth time in Britain this season and the second at Wentworth. "There is the word 'world' in the title and to be champion of anything with the word 'world' in it means a lot to me. Unfortunately, I can't see many other non-major winners on the role of honour. I'd like to change that."

The performance from the Scot left O'Meara, who at the age of 41 last year won the Open and the Masters, in no doubt of Montgomerie's major credentials. "Colin is going to win a major and I see no reason why he couldn't do it within the next year," O'Meara said.

O'Meara, whose painful neck was replaced with a stiff neck, came back from four down in the final against Tiger Woods last year, but could not mount such a recovery this time. "I knew I had to come out smoking in the afternoon but Colin is a tremendous competitor and played smart, composed golf."

Montgomerie said: "I knew I was never far enough ahead against someone who can play and putt like Mark can. I lost in the final to Ernie Els in 1994 so it was nice to get back into the final and be victorious."

The Scot began in breathtaking fashion, hitting a six-iron to four feet at the first. When O'Meara failed to get up and down for a par, he was not required to putt. He would probably have holed it anyway, given that he went on to single-putt the next five greens. Only one of those was a long one, from over 40 feet at the sixth for his fourth birdie.

Three up, Monty misjudged the pace of the seventh green, three-putting for only his third bogey of the week. He won the 10th with a par and birdied the next three to go five up.

It was the wobble at the last two that gave O'Meara hope. Monty could not match the American's birdie at the 17th and was then unfortunate at the 18th. Both missed the fairway, but Monty was only just off in thick rough while O'Meara was 20 yards wide but had a good lie. He took advantage by hitting a terrific four-wood approach to two feet and when Monty, who was credited with an approximate 66, only found the green in four, he conceded the hole.

One of the ingredients for such marvellous scoring all week - the overall tally of 165 under par beat the previous record from 1989 by three strokes - along with the fine weather and an immaculately conditioned course, was the absence of any breeze. Although the wind got up yesterday afternoon to make matters more interesting, Montgomerie, after briefly being pegged back to two up and twice going four up for a hole, maintained his three up advantage through turn.

O'Meara, however, was always likely to come good on the greens at some point and chose the back nine to do it. He holed from seven feet for a half on the 10th and from double that, after Monty had hit his bunker shot stiff, to win the 11th.

Two holes later Montgomerie made a rare long game mistake, duffing his five-iron approach well short of the green. But he got up and down for a four, as O'Meara did from a bunker. The 14th was halved in pars and then Montgomerie's three-iron second at the next left him a 12-footer birdie putt. Crucially, O'Meara had to putt first from just outside. "Mark gave me a great line. It broke just a little more than he thought," Monty admitted.

He missed the green at the 16th, but O'Meara found a bunker and pushed his recovery 14 feet past. Inevitably, he holed the one back to force Montgomerie to hole out from three feet for the victory. "In matchplay you always have to expect the worst," he said. It is hoped that the same will not be true of his visit to the dentist this morning.

CISCO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP (Wentworth, Surrey): C Montgomerie (GB) bt M O'Meara (US) 3 and 2.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee