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Montgomerie still set on Order of Merit title

Colin Montgomerie is determined to will come out fighting at the Belgacom Open today in his attempt to recover from some poor recent performances and win the European Tour Order of Merit.

Montgomerie faces a stiff task this week with Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn also competing in the £615,000 event here at Belgium's historic links course.

The only leading players to stay away are Ernie Els, currently third on the money list and at home resting in South Africa, and Nick Faldo, fifth on the Ryder Cup points table and taking a week off. Clarke, the Order of Merit leader, heads the second-placed Westwood by £49,500 and is nearly £500,000 ahead of Montgomerie, who is struggling in fifth.

Montgomerie, who finished a lowly 46th in the Lancôme Trophy in Paris last week, said: "My current form is obviously not as good as I would like but at the same time I have been practising an awful lot at Wisley in my time off.

"I've got this tournament and three big tournaments – the German Masters, Volvo Masters and Valderrama – to come. I am as determined as ever. I know I am good enough to win all these tournaments and I would like to try and win three out of four and the Order of Merit. That is now becoming a goal.

Colin Montgomerie still hopeful of an eigth order of merit title.Allsport

"Although I am way behind and people have given up on me, I haven't and I never will. I came from fifth in the last tournament to win the Order of Merit in 1993 and I'll have to do a similar thing again this year."

Clarke, who earlier this week confirmed his place in next month's Cisco World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, admits that with four events still remaining Montgomerie is still very much in the Order of Merit picture.

"Monty, as good a player as he is, is capable of shooting a lot of good scores, and with that amount of money to play for on the last couple of weeks, he has a lot of experience," said Clarke, who won his first ever Tour event on the Royal Zoute course seven years ago.


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