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Montgomerie anxious to break out of slump

Colin Montgomerie is anxious to kick-start his moderate season at the Irish Open starting on Thursday so he can ultimately avoid the indignity of needing a wild card for the Ryder Cup.

The troubled Scot has a best result of only tied third this season and is 13th on the Ryder Cup points table -- three places short of an automatic spot after being in Europe's team since 1991 without needing a captain'spick.

Victory or even a top place in the Irish Open could boost Montgomerie's Ryder Cup points haul and ease captain Sam Torrance's wild-card headache for the match against the United States at The Belfry in September.

"Sam keeps saying he's not worried about my position, so that's fine," Montgomerie said. "I'll accept that.

"But it would hurt my pride greatly if I needed a wild card. I've always qualified first or second and I've played five times and I intend to do the same this time."

Montgomerie has not won on the European Tour for over a year and also slipped to number nine in the world rankings.

This week he was leapfrogged by Buick Classic winner Sergio Garcia of Spain, who has stormed to number eight in the world with his second U.S. Tour success.

Montgomerie could not have a better starting point for a resurgence than in the Irish tournament he has won twice and finished runner-up twice.

The Scot, who has recovered from the back problem that caused him to pull out of his last European Tour event, was confident on Wednesday he could turn the tide at the Irish Open's new venue, Fota Island.

"My back is okay now and I wish I could use it as an excuse," Montgomerie said. "It would be nice to win again, nice to get into contention again, to be honest.

"I'd like to be in contention on Sunday and that will stand me in good stead for the next three weeks, with the British Open at the end of this four-week run."


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