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Colin Montgomerie takes over Order of Merit lead

Colin Montgomerie's United States drought continued when he finished tied for third at the $7.5 million American Express Championship on Sunday.

Montgomerie now has played 109 official tournaments on the PGA Tour without a victory, but he had nothing to be ashamed of after an impressive performance at Harding Park.

He was on the edge of contention throughout the final round and after a birdie at the par-3 17th, and had an outside chance of joining Tiger Woods and John Daly in a playoff.

To do so, however, he also had to birdie the par-4 18th, the most difficult hole on the course, and not too surprisingly, Montgomerie bogeyed it, costing himself sole possession of third place.

Still, he had few complaints, because the $353,666 he earned took him to the top of the European Tour Order of Merit, passing Michael Campbell, and within sight of his eighth money title.

"It feels fantastic," said Montgomerie, who won the Order of Merit a record seven consecutive years from 1993-99. "I had a goal at the start of the week to overtake Michael Campbell and get some more Ryder Cup points, which I achieved.

"I played great on the back nine, got nothing out of it. I missed a putt there at the last, but never mind. I'd have taken third before I came, so that's OK. I'm coming away very positive, and I can take it on next week to Madrid"

He joined fellow Europeans Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson at 8-under 272, two strokes behind Woods, who beat Daly in a playoff.


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