Monty feels the pressure

Aother good day for Lee Westwood and another poor one for Colin Montgomerie has made sure the final day of the 1999 season will be a tense affair for both. A magnificent seventh Order of Merit victory for Monty remains the likely outcome, but Westwood is tantalisingly placed to claim a notable double of the American Express World Championship and the money list with one huge $1m (£610,000) cheque.

Aother good day for Lee Westwood and another poor one for Colin Montgomerie has made sure the final day of the 1999 season will be a tense affair for both. A magnificent seventh Order of Merit victory for Monty remains the likely outcome, but Westwood is tantalisingly placed to claim a notable double of the American Express World Championship and the money list with one huge $1m (£610,000) cheque.

Westwood dropped shots, due to poor drives, at the 16th and 18th, but a 71 left him at two under and two behind the joint leaders, Miguel Angel Jimenez and America's Chris Perry. Westwood must win to have a chance of winning his first Order of Merit, and then Montgomerie can still hold on by finishing third.

Monty dropped back to one over, but his hopes rest with the impressive list of contenders sharing third place at three under, anyone of whom can win and ensure Montgomerie's No 1 spot for him. The players in question are Tiger Woods, Nick Price, Tom Lehman, Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton.

"It was not an easy day and a 71 was a good score," Westwood said. "I didn't play the last three holes well but they could easily have been three sixes instead of three fives. As I said at the start of the week, it's all going to come down to the last day." He will be hoping it does not come down to the last hole, however. "I still can't figure out what to hit off the 18th tee. I've tried two drivers and a three-wood so far but it seems to be a par-four with no fairway."

Montgomerie returned a 72 for the second day running. "Not right now," he told inquisitors at the recorder's hut. How often has the Scot spoken about needing to hole a good putt early on to set up a good round. On the second green, he had a birdie chance but was distracted by the warning signal of a reversing rubbish truck. When it stopped, and Monty had bent over the putt, it roared off again and he had to back off again.

The putt was missed, as were the next few before he three-putted at the sixth. A further indication of his mood came with an altercation with a spectator at the third green, whom he accused of being in his line.

From tee to green, Montgomerie outplayed Jose Maria Olazabal, but - helped by a couple of long putts, one at the eighth for birdie and another at the tenth for birdie - the Spaniard scored a 69 to move to two under, three ahead of the Scot. Monty finally holed a putt for a birdie at the 15th and then, after chipping over the green, holed from the back fringe at the last for a par.

Ollie is one of the toughest players on himself as well as one of the more diplomatic about others. "Monty was striking the ball really well," he said. "He is struggling to score because he didn't make a single putt until the 15th.

"Sometimes he is a little bit tough on himself, but so are some of us. No one is perfect. Monty is the way he is. He hasn't done bad, has he, with probably seven Order of Merits in a row. I'd like to see him smile a bit more but it is not happening at the moment."

The wind picked up again yesterday and switched to the opposite direction, coming in from over the Andalucian hills. It proved a shock to some of those Americans playing the course for the first time, but then Mark James, three under overnight, slipped to a 74. Phil Mickelson put two balls into the water at the par-five fourth for a nine, while Jeff Maggert, who finished seven-five-eight, six-putted the last green, missing from two feet for a par.

Jimenez is in prime form, his confidence as high as it has even been, and knows Valderrama in all conditions. He went to the turn in 32 and parred the back nine until a bogey at the last. Jimenez is inspired in front of the Spanish gallery, winning earlier in the year in his home town of Malaga and last week in Jerez at the Volvo Masters.

It would be an impressive double in a fortnight for Jimenez to complete today, but then Woods won the US Tour Championship last week and he will be hoping that he can make it four wins from his last four starts, and five in six. His challenge seemed to have stalled before, for the third day running, he produced an impressive finish. The world No 1 holed from 25 feet up the tier on the 17th for a birdie and added another from 18 feet at the last.

"It would be pretty neat to win both last week and this," Woods, after a 70, said. "They are both elite fields with guys who have played well to get into them. I'd take a lot of pride in getting into the winner's circle tomorrow."

Montgomerie would be the first to offer his congratulations.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before