Montgomerie three-peats in Sweden

MALMO, Sweden, Reuters

Colin Montgomerie won his third Scandinavian Masters title after a nail-biting finale at Barseback on Sunday, keeping out fellow Britons Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter by a stroke.

Montgomerie bogeyed the last two holes but Westwood failed to find the birdie on the last that would have taken the pair into a playoff and Montgomerie’s two-under par 70 for a 14-under-par 274 total was just enough to claim the US$262,000 first prize.

“I’ve had a superb month,” said 38-year-old Montgomerie. “It wasn’t really happening this year and then I win my third Irish Open and now my third Scandinavian Masters.

“Now I can concentrate on trying to do well at the U.S. PGA Championship at Atlanta in two weeks’ time.”

The Scot’s win also earned him 300,000 Ryder Cup points and ended any lingering doubts on his Ryder Cup place, taking him to sixth in the table.

He also moved up to eighth in the list of leading prize money winners on the European PGA Tour, which he topped for seven successive years.

It was Westwood who ended his reign and the Englishman could have won if his putter had been hotter.

The reigning European number one missed a two-footer on the ninth to drop off the top of the leaderboard and a miss from three feet for birdie on the long 12th were the two shots difference between him retaining the title and finishing runner-up.

Montgomerie grabbed the lead though with a run of three birdies in four holes in the middle of his back nine.

“The difference in winning like this lies with the putter and in the head.”

“I’ve been holing those four and five footers regularly which I haven’t done for some time,” he said.

“And winning two events in quick succession, as well as having my best Open and leading it, proves the game of golf – like all sport – is played in the head.

“I made it a bit exciting by bogeying the last two.”

“I had a real scare on the 17th because my ball was only a yard from being unplayable and that would have been a different matter altogether.

“As it was, even with the two bogeys it was just enough.”

Montgomerie was pleased, too, that Westwood was back in form, adding: “This week is another good result for Sam Torrance. That’s me safe for my Ryder Cup place and Sam will be glad Lee’s playing well again.”

Westwood, who closed with a 72 like his co-third round leader Poulter, was not overly disappointed at losing out to Monty.

“It was very good of Monty to bogey the last two and give me a chance, but I’m happy at the way I played all week, making only four bogeys,” he said.

“I couldn’t have putted much worse today. I missed from two feet on the ninth and three feet on the 12th and you just can’t afford to do that.”

Joint runner-up Poulter was happy to have holed the 10 footer that separated him from the pack on 276.

“That putt could be very important to my Ryder Cup hopes,” said last year’s rookie of the year, whose prize took him to 12th in the table.