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Goosen can seal Merit title this week

U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen can clinch the European money title by winning the inaugural Dunhill Links Championship over three Scottish courses this week.

With an $800,000 prize to the winner, Goosen can boost his already sizable lead of dlrs 638,000 over second-placed Darren Clarke and sew up the title well before next month's season-ending Volvo Masters in Spain.

Even if Goosen does not win this event, a high finish could take him close to the overall season's title.

The format has all the 156 pros playing with an amateur for the first three days on three different courses -- the Old Course in St. Andrews; Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns, just outside St. Andrews.

After three rounds, the field will be reduced to the leading 60 pros and ties, plus the 20 leading pro-am teams. They will play the final round over the Old Course.

Other top entries include Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam and Steve Elkington.

No leading American players have entered.

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