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Colin Montgomerie seeking US Open spot

Colin Montgomerie says this week's Johnnie Walker Classic can be a springboard for him to get into the U.S. Open after missing out on the Masters earlier this month.

The Scot has slipped to 54th in the world rankings after a poor year that saw the break-up of his marriage and needs to make up four places to qualify for the U.S. Open in June.

Montgomerie on Wednesday put a positive spin on his chances in Beijing despite facing a high-quality field.

"I've got to get into the top 50 by the end of the BMW Championship in Wentworth," Montgomerie said. "I've got five events (to make up the ground). I think I can do that."

The seven-times European number one followed this month's U.S. Masters on television after failing to qualify for the first major of the season.

"I watch sport to learn and to watch how people pass and fail, I suppose," said Montgomerie. "It was interesting seeing Tiger (Woods) and ... how Chris DiMarco performed so well."

Woods beat fellow American DiMarco in a playoff as Montgomerie missed the Masters for the first time since 1991.

Montgomerie's form fell away badly last year as he went through a very public divorce, although he did sink the winning putt for Europe at the Ryder Cup in September.

World number three Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Ryder Cup members Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn, Paul Casey and Luke Donald will also be challenging in China.

But Montgomerie, who has won a title somewhere around the world at least once every year since 1993, knows he needs a good finish at Pine Valley this week.

"I've got to try to make up lost ground that happened last year," said the 41-year-old. "This is Asia's premier event and it's a big tournament points-wise.

"I would like to take home as many of them as possible."

Conditions in Beijing are forcast to be blustery and Montgomerie is having to reacclimatise after arriving from a tsunami relief skins game in Thailand.

"I've been in Phuket the last three days and it was 39-40 degrees," he said. "You come here and it's a dramatic difference.

"The wind is no fun for anybody. Hopefully tomorrow it will be slightly better, fingers crossed."


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