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Linde German Masters
Gut Larchenhof
Cologne, Germany
24th - 27th September 1998

Par 72 Prize Money 1 million

Final Round Report

Monty surges back to number one spot

Reuters

Cologne, Germany 27th September 1998 - A one-shot victory in the German Masters on Sunday took Colin Montgomerie within sight of a sixth successive European number one title.

The 35-year-old Scot bravely sank a five-foot putt on the last green to deny U.S. PGA champion Vijay Singh of Fiji and Swede Robert Karlsson the chance of a playoff as he closed with a five-under-par 67 for a total of 266, 22 under par.

The 166,660 ($283,900) first prize took Montgomerie 119,926 ($204,300) clear of Lee Westwood on Europe's Order of Merit and also put him over 150,000 ($255,600) ahead on Europe's Ryder Cup table for next September's match.

Montgomerie had to dig deep in the final round to stave off the challenges of Singh and Karlsson, who briefly took the lead by pitching in for eagle on the 13th.

The hefty Scot immediately wrested it back as Karlsson followed his eagle with a bogey and then sealed his success with two late birdies, ensuring victory by making par with two putts from 30 feet at the last.

"I'm proud of myself for being able to show what I can only call courage to win," said Montgomerie.

"Robert and Vijay had put the pressure on and we had quite a delay before I took my putt on the last. I thought it was more downhill than it was and it came up short. But I sunk an eight-footer to win my first event of the year, the (British) PGA, and this was courage as well."

"I'm proud I'm proving I can react under conditions like this."

With 760,077 ($1.30 million) banked, Montgomerie has raced ahead on the rankings with just two events to go after his second victory in three events and his third of the year.

He also has 318,020 Ryder Cup points and is virtually assured of a place in fellow-Briton Mark James's European Ryder Cup team with only four counting events played.

"It's always nice to be back on top of the Order of Merit although it's not so important to me as winning the record first five," Montgomerie said.

"And it's nice to know I've virtually sealed my Ryder Cup place already. That should be a help to Mark.

"If somebody had told me 10 years ago that I'd be where I am in my career I would have laughed at them!"

Karlsson shot 65 and Singh 66 in the final round. England's Steve Webster birdied the last to finish two behind in fourth place on his own, a shot better than another Swede, Per-Ulrik Johansson.

Europe's long-time number one Westwood stayed remotely in touch by shooting a 66 for joint sixth place on 271.

He is second in the order as Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke could only manage a share of 21st spot.

The Englishman produced six birdies and no bogeys to stay within range of Montgomerie as he recharging his spirits after his third round 72, a disappointing score on the benign Gut Larchenhof course.

"I was watching Monty on the leaderboard all the way round," Westwood said. "I kept thinking if I can put a score together today it keeps me in touch.

"Thankfully I could but it's a pity about yesterday. That's how it's been for some time - one bad round a week.

"I get lazy or tired or something and a swing fault creeps in. I gave myself a 'kick up the backside' last night though, and it seems to have worked.

"I also rang my dad for a chat and spoke to my fiancee about my attitude. Dad told me I'm always too hard on myself but I said I have to be if I want to be the best.

"Anyway, talking about things seemed to freshen up my attitude to the last round."

Course-designer Jack Nicklaus's son Gary had his best result of the year by finishing tied 11th after a closing 65 for 273 but still does not have enough banked to be sure of next year's card.

He was seeking a top-10 place at least to assure him of a final start of the season in next week's Belgacom Open and will now have to rely on an invitation or a place as a reserve.

England's Nick Faldo earned 6,200 more Ryder Cup points after a 68 for 278, announcing himself happy at eight successive rounds of par or better as his game coming back to form after his return to Europe.

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