Third time luckiest for Montgomerie

Golf

TIM GLOVER

reports from Sotogrande

It would be inappropriate to classify Colin Montgomerie as the Red Rum of golf (unfair on the late horse) but yesterday the Scotsman won the European Tour's grand national, the Order of Merit, for the third year running. Big Monty puts up overweight but nothing stops him from winning the marathon, although Sam Torrance ran him perilously close.

Montgomerie said from the outset that he came to Valderrama to win the Volvo Masters. He was denied that achievement by a barnstorming finish from Alexander Cejka but Montgomerie finished second, and if ever there was an occasion where second best was good enough this was it. Cejka shot 70 and at two under for the championship he was two strokes too good for Montgomerie. A stroke further back, in a campaign that began in Dubai last January, was Torrance. "C'est la vie," Torrance said.

Under his breath he would have preferred something more Glaswegian. At the age of 42 and in his 25th year on the Tour, Torrance had never topped the money list. "It's been a great battle," Montgomerie said. "I commiserate with Sam. I feel quite fortunate. This must be hard for him to take. I've only been playing in these last few tournaments because Sam was playing."

In the morning the money was on Big Monty. Only one stroke off the lead, his position looked as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. Torrance, six shots off the pace, kept the pressure on the leaders with a final round of 68 for an aggregate of 285, one over par and it was the lowest round of the day. He was the only player to break 70. That made him the leader in the clubhouse and he had a couple of hours to kill. He watched the rest sweat, particularly Montgomerie.

From the Costa del Sol, the Rock and Africa beyond was clearly visible on the hottest day of the tournament. No matter. Big Monty was wearing a sweater and by the turn he was the colour of a rudely healthy beetroot. Monty began the week with prize money of pounds 626,651.40 compared to Torrance's pounds 630,481.28. Montgomerie finished with pounds 835, 051. He won pounds 83,400 for coming second here and for coming first in the money table he won a bonus of pounds 125,000.

Yesterday Montgomerie was paired with his Ryder Cup teammate Ian Woosnam. This year they had gone their separate ways. Little Woosie had not been on the winner's rostrum this year and prior to this week was 92nd on the Order of Merit with pounds 66,427, pocket money to the likes of the tearaway Scotsmen.

The Volvo Masters is restricted to the cream of Europe and a handful of what the Tour describes as Category One players: former major winners like Woosnam. The Welshman went out in 34 yesterday to Monty's 37 and there was a four-shot swing at the eighth and ninth - two birdie threes to two bogey fives.

Montgomerie was looking hot and bothered and Woosie headed for home with a two- stroke lead. The greens at Valderrama are probably faster than anything else in Europe and they took their toll on Woosnam over the back nine. He found a bunker at the 12th and dropped a shot and three putted the 14th for a double-bogey six. Montgomerie, by contrast, was a model of consistency over the back nine. He had a birdie at the 12th, eight pars and came home in 35. As Torrance acknowledged, Monty "did what he had to do."

Montgomerie had not dropped a shot all week on the back nine but yesterday he flirted with disaster at the notorious 17th. He had to play his third shot out of rough on a bank. He had 82 yards to the green."It went 82 yards," he said. A foot less and his ball would have rolled back off the green and into the water. "Valderrama is a great challenge," he said. "It's not the birdies you make, it's the mistakes you don't make."

That was the sub-plot. Cejka stole some of Monty's thunder with five birdies on the back nine and he came home in 32. He won pounds 125,000 and also upstaged the more illustrious German, Bernhard Langer. In 1980, when he was nine, Cejka and his father escaped from Czechoslovakia, where golf was considered a bourgeois pursuit, fled through Yugoslavia, Italy and Switzerland and settled in Munich.

He has been to the Tour's qualifying school on six occasions but will not have to return. This year Cejka won the Turespana Open and the Austrian Open, but yesterday's triumph was in a different league. "I don't know what to say," he said."I can't find the words. I need a lot of cigarettes and a lot of alcohol."

Scores and Order of Merit, Sporting Digest, page 24

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £40,000

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Contracts / Sales Administrator

£19500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Knowledge of and ability to use...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence