Scots battle to the finish

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The Independent Online
A SECOND Scottish victory on Parisian soil in just over six months looks an odds-on certainty at St Nom-La-Breteche today. Following their countrymen's epic rugby victory at Parc des Princes, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance have extended Scotland's dominance in the French capital by monopolising the top two places on the leaderboard at the Lancome Trophy.

Yesterday the pair, who are first and second in the Volvo Order of Merit, turned the pounds 600,000 tournament into a two-horse race by opening a gap which the rest of the field is unlikely to close in today's final round.

Yesterday Montgomerie shot a bogeyless, five-under-par 65 for a 54- hole total of 198 and a three-shot lead over Torrance, who had a 69 after starting the day one ahead. Their nearest challenger is Australia's Wayne Riley.

For the fourth successive day, the two Scots will play alongside each other with Riley completing the trio. Apart from the question of who will win the pounds 100,000 first prize, Montgomerie and Torrance now also appear to be the principal contenders for the title of Europe's No 1, thus adding spice to an already appetising day's golf. Torrance, who looked in danger of falling at least five behind Montgomerie before eagling the par-five 16th, said: "I've got a large Scot in my way and three shots is a lot to make up on him the way he's playing. But I've got nothing to lose by having a go."

The tournament appears to be Montgomerie's to lose, and on present form that is unlikely. Since missing the cut at the Open, he has played 23 competitive rounds in 79 under par. "It is between me and Sam I suppose," he said. "But you are never sure in this game - I was once 10 ahead of Jamie Spence and didn't win. I am only in control of one person, one swing and one golf ball. I can't control anyone else."

A shot behind Riley come England's Steven Richardson and the American Ryder Cup player Tom Lehman, with Argentina's Vicente Fernandez on 207, three under par.

The other six members of the European Ryder Cup team in the field yesterday all either matched or broke par. Four of them - Costantino Rocca, David Gilford, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal - are on two under par. If any of them is to prevent that Scottish double, then he will have to become Jamie Spence for the day.

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