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Colin Montgomerie earns 8th Order of Merit title

Not even eligible for all the majors at the start of the year, Colin Montgomerie completed a remarkable turnaround Sunday when he tied for third in the Volvo Masters and captured his record eighth money title on the European tour.

Paul McGinley of Ireland closed with a 4-under-par 67 at Valderrama for a two-shot victory over Sergio Garcia, his first victory this year. He finished at 10-under 274.

But the season-ending event was all about the Order of Merit, which Montgomerie won seven straight times in the 1990s until his streak ended in 2000.

``The seventh in 1999 was almost expected,'' Montgomerie said. ``This has been very, very difficult, but is very special. This has been the toughest.''

After going through a public divorce last year and watching his world ranking plunge to No. 83, Montgomerie turned his game around with a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods in the British Open, then winning the Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in October for his first victory in 19 months. He took the lead on the money list with a tie for third in the American Express Championship in San Francisco.

The only player that could have edged Montgomerie for the money title was U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who closed with a 72 and finished 14th. Campbell had to finish above Montgomerie in this season-ending tournament to have a chance of winning the money title.

Montgomerie finished with winnings of $3.37 million. Campbell was next with $3.01 million and McGinley with $2.77 million.

Montgomerie, who led by as many as six shots in the third round, started the final day tied with Garcia, but the 42-year-old Scot dropped shots early and never recovered. Luke Donald closed with a 64 to share third with Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal, who shot 69.

``It's never safe around this course,'' Montgomerie said.

October 31, 2005

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