Montgomerie races to record finish

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The Independent Online
Colin Montgomerie equalled the course record at Slaley Hall yesterday to win the European Grand Prix by five strokes.

Montgomerie's 30 strokes on the final nine holes included four birdies over the closing five holes as he struck a seven-under-par final round of 65 to finish 18-under-par for the tournament with a total of 270.

It was Montgomerie's 13th victory in 10 years on the European Tour. His total was two strokes better than the score he had predicted would be required to win. Retief Goosen, the defending champion, was five strokes back in second place.

Montgomerie secured his first victory of the year with some superb finishing, holing putts of 25ft, 35ft, 25ft and 12ft at the last.

His timely form, with only two bogeys in 93 holes of golf, put him in a buoyant mood for the US Open. "I've been 26 under par for my last five rounds and made only two bogeys." he said. "In the US Open it's not so much a case of the birdies you make but the bogeys you don't make. I can't wait for this coming Thursday morning the way things are going."

Goosen trailed Montgomerie by a stroke early in the round but his challenge was blown away by Montgomerie's finish and he had to settle for second place after hitting a 69. Lee Westwood, like Goosen just one stroke behind Montgomerie at the start of the round, was third after hitting a 70 for a total of 276 and moved into seventh place in the Ryder Cup rankings.

Montgomerie moved to the top of the European points table and climbed to fifth in the order of merit, but still trails Ian Woosnam by 168,035 points in his search for a record fifth European rankings title.

Britain's Laura Davies maintained her record of winning a European tour event at least once each year since 1985 when she won the Danish Open at Vejle yesterday. Davies, making her first European tour appearance of the season, shot a closing round of 69 for a nine under par aggregate of 207. She finished three stokes clear of Sweden's Maria Hjorth and took her 25th European title. The Australian, Karen Lunn, and Marie-Laure de Lorenzi from France shared third place a further three strokes back.

Results, Digest, page 23