Montgomerie takes time out from Tour

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie is likely to be fined around £500 by the European Tour after pulling out of this week's £2.5m Players' Championship at Gut Kaden in Hamburg.

Montgomerie, who missed the cut in the Open at Hoylake last week, told tournament organisers he did not want to be "in a competitive environment, preferring to spend time practising elements of his game which need attention".

The 43-year-old Scot has also played 10 of the past 11 weeks on tour, including his second place in the US Open at Winged Foot when he double-bogeyed the last hole of the final round to miss out on his first major title. Montgomerie is likely to be fined for withdrawing after the deadline on Saturday.

Sweden's Niclas Fasth is the defending champion in an event also featuring the former Open champion John Daly, Padraig Harrington, world No 5 Retief Goosen, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and the Ryder Cup captain, Ian Woosnam.

Spain's Sergio Garcia, fifth in the Open on Sunday, is also in the 156-strong field competing for the £410,000 first prize. Garcia was in the final group alongside the eventual winner Tiger Woods but could card only a closing 73.

"I felt very good last week, the best I've felt probably all year," the Spaniard said. "So I'm very happy about that. I'm looking forward to keeping the run going.

"It was a great experience, I really enjoyed it all week. I had a lot of fun. I'm still quite happy about it. A 73 was definitely the highest I could shoot. When everything goes wrong you make zero putts."

In the women's game, Lorena Ochoa, Kim Mi Hyun and Shani Waugh shot six-under rounds of 66 to share the lead after the first round of the Evian Masters in France yesterday. In sweltering temperatures that reached 33C, Ochoa - the LPGA's leading money winner this season - birdied seven holes but bogeyed the 15th for her 66.

Karrie Webb was one shot behind after a 67 with Maria Hjorth, Laura Davies and Se Ri Pak on a 68. Michelle Wie, the 16-year-old Hawaiian, carded a 69 as she attempted to win her first tournament as a professional. The world No 1, Annika Sorenstam, also shot 69.

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