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Volvo Masters
Montecastillo Hotel & Golf Resort
Jerez, Spain
29th October - 1st November 1998

Par 72 Prize Money 1million

Final Round Report

Monty wins sixth Order of Merit; Clarke wins in Spain

Jerez, Spain, 1st November 1998 - Scotland's Colin Montgmerie won the European Order of Merit for the sixth year running on Sunday as Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke stormed to victory in the Volvo Masters.

Montgomerie's third place in the tournament was enough to guarantee his continued supremacy in European golf, which became all but certain when closest rival Lee Westwood of England took seven shots at the par-three 14th hole.

"The field is improving all the time and I have had to improve along with them," Montgomerie, 35, said after a mature, safety-first 68 which did not threaten Clarke's aggressive performance.

Clarke equalled Swede Per-Ulrik Johansson's course record of 63, firing seven birdies and an eagle on the sun-drenched Montecastillo course in the heart of Spain's sherry-producing country. He finished on 271, 17 under par.

Scot Andrew Coltart was a surprise second-place finisher with a six-under-par 66 to finish 15 under. The 28-year-old kept hard on Clarke's heels until he bogeyed on the 17th.

For Montgomerie, the victory was sweet after he suffered a disastrous loss of form in the middle of 1998.

Still without victory in one of the major tournaments, "Monty" lost his swing after his second victory of the year at the end of May and spent several weeks in the wilderness, but fought back again to win the British and German Masters in September.

"Although I went through a hiccup in the middle of the year, I'm feeling mentally stronger than ever," he said, admitting he had been playing safely on Sunday rather than going for a tournament victory.

"When you've been number one, you don't like being number two and that still drives me," he said.

He went into the Volvo Masters just 45,000 ($75,540) ahead of Westwood but earned 233,000 ($391,100) in prize and bonus money on Sunday to push his total for the year to just over 993,077 ($1.67 million).

Clarke paid tribute to Montgomery. "Both Lee and I tried our hardest to beat Monty this year and we couldn't do it. Our best just has not been good enough," he said.

For the jovial 30-year-old Clarke, who carried his 13-week-old daughter Tyrone off the course in triumph, 1998 has been a rollercoaster year.

He won only won tournament before Sunday when he could have won several others and was deeply affected by the car bomb in the Northern Irish town of Omagh in August which killed 27 people.

On Sunday he dedicated his victory to friend Stephen Bowler, who died of a heart attack in South Africa last week.

Clarke earned 166,000  ($278,600) for winning the event and 120,000 ($201,400) for nudging Westwood out of second place in the European rankings, a total of 286,000  ($480,100) earned on Sunday for year's earnings of around 900,000 ($1.51 million).

Westwood said he had already lost the battle with Montgomerie by the time disaster struck on the 14th hole. "I struggled all day. It was the start of the round that let me down. I never really felt I had a chance," he said.

Former English Ryder Cup star Peter Baker and Australian overnight leader Peter O'Malley shared fourth place on 13 under with German two-times Masters winner Bernhard Langer sixth, 12 under par after a round of 68. Baker carded 67 and O'Malley 70.

World number five Ernie Els finished with a round of 70 for an overall nine under score of 279.

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Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round

 


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