Montgomerie moves up to challenge

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The Independent Online

Britain's Colin Montgomerie lowered his score for the second successive round to keep alive his chance of winning the US PGA Players' Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Montgomerie followed rounds of 71 and 69 with a 66 to join six rivals in a group on 10-under-par 206, four shots behind Tommy Tolles, the American leader of the event which is widely regarded as the nearest thing to a fifth major.

Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Vijay Singh are alongside Montgomerie, while David Duval is second on 204 and Michael Bradley and Jay Haas joint-third on 205.

Tolles handled steady rain and the pressure of playing in the last group of the day to shoot a 69 and maintain his two-stroke lead going into the final round.

The 29-year-old American in only his second year on the US PGA Tour, was in a position to become the first golfer to make the Players' Championship his first Tour victory. Duval, Bradley and Haas could also accomplish the feat.

In a tournament in which Greg Norman and Britain's Nick Faldo were watching the weekend rounds on television, having missed the cut, Tolles was again impressive, making only two bogeys in 54 holes. "Today's round was almost as good as yesterday's" he said, referring to a 64. "I was always in the fairway, I was always on the greens. I was getting my two-putts."

n Britain's Laura Davies shot a second successive 70 to move within striking distance of the leaders in the Nabisco Dinah Shore LPGA Championship at Rancho Mirage, California. Davies was among a group of six on four-under- par 212, two behind the American pair Patty Sheehan and Brandie Burton, who carded 67 and 68 respectively. Martha Nause was on 211 after shooting 70 while Britain's Trish Johnson fired 71 to be on 217.

Scores, Digest, page 19