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Colin Montgomerie to play HSBC Match Play

Colin Montgomerie finished outright second at the 134th Open Championship last night behind World Number 1, Tiger Woods, securing his place in the 2005 HSBC World Match Play Championship and the chance to play for £1 million, the richest first prize in golf.

Monty had narrowly missed out on qualifying for a place in the 16-man field via the HSBC European Tournaments Ranking when, following the Smurfit European Open, Kenneth Ferrie pipped him to the second guaranteed spot after the Smurfit European Open.

Scottish hero, Monty was delighted to learn that he has now qualified after enjoying his best ever Open finish, enthusing: “I am thrilled to have made it into the 2005 HSBC World Match Play Championship. It is one of my favourite events and I have really missed playing in it over the past couple of years.

One of my goals this year is to improve my World Ranking and the fact that there are now World Ranking points on offer at the HSBC World Match Play Championship makes it doubly important to get into the field. I really enjoy the match play format and always feel very at home playing at Wentworth so look forward to a great week”

Monty’s best ever Open Championship finish takes him to 4th on the 2005 HSBC Major Championships Ranking behind South African, Retief Goosen, who has also now secured a place in the HSBC event which takes place at a new, earlier date of September 15-18. They join fellow qualifiers defending Champion and six-time winner, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh (World No. 1 at March 31), Tiger Woods, winner of the Open Championship and the US Masters Tournament and Michael Campbell, winner of the US Open..

The US PGA will be the final event counting towards the 2005 HSBC Major Championships Ranking from which the leading 10 players will qualify to compete over the West Course of the Wentworth Club, Surrey, England. Now in its 42nd year, the tournament is officially sanctioned by the European Tour with the results counting towards the European Tour Order of Merit and Official World Golf Ranking Points. Total prize money will be £2,440,000 with all matches being decided over 36 holes.

Angel Cabrera and Kenneth Ferrie have secured their places in the 2005 HSBC World Match Play Championship after finishing first and second respectively on the 2005 HSBC European Tournaments Ranking table, based on Official World Golf Ranking Points earned from the Dubai Desert Classic, the Johnnie Walker Classic, the BMW Championship and the Smurfit European Open. The final two spots will go to the leading two European Tour players, not already qualified, on the European Tour Order of Merit on August 29.

HSBC recently announced a new men’s event in China, the ‘HSBC Champions’ tournament, which will be played in Shanghai at the Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club November 10-13, 2005. The event has a $5 million prize fund and brings together winners across four golf tours, matching them with the best players in the Official World Rankings. Current World Number 1, Tiger Woods, has already committed to playing in the event which will be co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association.

Earlier this summer, HSBC held the only individual match play championship in women’s golf, at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club in New Jersey, USA. The inaugural HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship offering the richest first prize in LPGA history of US$500,000 was won by Colombian, Marisa Baena.


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