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July 18 2010

3:03 PM

Monty likes look of leaderboard

Colin Montgomerie may have shot 62 to qualify for the British Open, but he certainly wasn’t happy with his performance at the Old Course this week. The man who finished second at St. Andrews in 2005 only broke par once in four rounds and finished a disappointing 4 over.

“It’s not happening on the course right now,” Monty said. “I’m not firing on any cylinders at all. I need to be firing on all eight if I’m to contend and I’m not doing that right now, unfortunately.”

That said, the European Ryder Cup captain couldn’t be happier when he looked at the leaderboard. Five of the top six players – Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy --when Montgomerie finished off his round are potential members of his team for the matches in October in Wales.

Of that group, Casey, Kaymer and Stenson have yet to qualify either off the world points list or the European points list. Four players qualify off the world list and five from the European, then Montgomerie gets three Captain’s Picks.

“I need a few to do me proud,” Monty said. “I don’t want to have to waste picks on world stars like Paul Casey, for instance, and he can seal his spot right now. He’s probably not thinking about the Ryder Cup now, he’s thinking about trying to win the British Open. But at the same time, I am. …

“It’s a big, big day for a lot of these guys just on the fringe.”

Montgomerie said he actually was doing the math Saturday night, trying to see where Casey would end up if he finished second on Sunday. And if Casey did crack the top nine automatic qualifiers, who would be knocked out –- and would that cause another dilemma for Montgomerie as he pondered his picks?

“Of course I’ve got some headaches, but I’ve also got some good headaches,” the captain said. “I can pick two teams here that can beat each other on any given day. That’s the strength and the depth of European golf, especially this year.

“We’ve had our first British winner of the U.S. Open for 40 years, Lee Westwood almost won the Masters, we’re contending here again and who says we won’t do it at the U.S. PGA in a month’s time? Justin Rose winning twice in America – it’s been a fabulous year for British golf.

“In any form of business, and this is one, if standards rise, the competition has to follow suit, which is great for me.” – Helen Ross

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