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Top Europeans commit to Singapore event

Defending champion Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and Englands Lee Westwood will headline next year's Caltex Masters, Presented by Carlsberg, Singapore 2005.

The Ryder Cup heroes will be amongst the stars gracing the fairways at Laguna National Golf & Country Club from January 27-30. The event is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

The Caltex Masters, Presented by Carlsberg will also boast an increase price purse of US$1,000,000 a US$100,000 jump on 2004. This elevates the tournament into the top five Asian golf events.

Montgomerie, the seven-time Volvo Order of Merit winner between 1993 and 1999, captured the title at Laguna National in March with a 16-under-par total of 272, beating American Gregory Hanrahan by three strokes.

His record in The Ryder Cup is second to none. Since his debut in 1991 Montgomerie has never lost a singles match and he has been on the winning European Team on four occasions, including the most recent record-breaking victory over the United States at The Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan where he sank the winning putt.

Montgomerie said: "I would expect it to be a strong field, and I am very much looking forward to coming back in January to defend my title and will certainly give it my best shot. Singapore is a fantastic place and the tournament is a great one which I thoroughly enjoyed playing."

Westwood's career is equally impressive, with 25 wins worldwide. His most recent came in the 2003 Dunhill Links Championship where he beat South African Ernie Els by one shot over the Old Course at St Andrews . More recently, he finished runner-up to Els in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club.

Westwood said: "I am really excited to be visiting Singapore again, my last trip was in 1996 and I look forward to coming back. I heard that the Laguna golf course is challenging and I'll be facing some tough competition."

Bob Hakim, Vice President of Asia Pacific Marketing for Chevron Texaco, said: "The tournament has a tradition of attracting a star studded field and we look forward to having the top players from Europe and Asia , including our defending champion, Colin Montgomerie compete for the 2005 title.

"We are equally excited about the "Birdies for Charities" which will have our golfers shooting for birdies and eagles in the name of charity. This activity is part of our efforts to use the Caltex Masters, Presented by Carlsberg, as a platform to reach out to the communities in which we operate and the charities that we support."

Louis Martin, Chief Executive of the Asian Tour, stated: "We look forward to once again returning to Laguna National Golf & Country Club and would like to thank Caltex, Carlsberg and the family of sponsors for their continued support. The Asian Tour players have traditionally performed well in this tournament, with Arjun Atwal of India and China's Zhang Lian-wei winning the event in the past and I am confident our members including the likes of Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Singapore's very own Mardan Mamat will challenge for the title again next year."

George OGrady, The European Tours Executive Director Designate, said: The combination of Singapore as a destination and the splendid Laguna National Golf & Country Club has proved an irresistible attraction to our Members since the Caltex Masters, Presented by Carlsberg, became a joint sanctioned event on our International Schedule in 2001. We thank all the sponsors for their valued support and look forward to another week of top class competition in January."

Peter Kwee, Chairman of Laguna National Golf and Country Club, added: Next year will mark the fourth time Laguna National Golf & Country Club is hosting the Caltex Masters, Presented by Carlsberg, and it is with great excitement that we look forward to the arrival of some of the finest players in the game. The course will present the golfers a tough challenge, requiring both golfing skills and thinking skills to navigate the Masters Course.

Asia 's challenge will be led by 2003 champion Zhang Lian-wei of China , who beat Els in dramatic fashion, Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee, who ranks number one on the Asian Tour as well as last years runner up Hanrahan.

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