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Sunday, November 1, 1998 Published at 18:55 GMT

Monty 'King of Europe'

Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke congratulate each other

Colin Montgomerie is Europe's number one golfer - for an amazing sixth time in a row.

A third place in a thrilling season-ending Volvo Masters at Montecastillo in Spain on Sunday put the 35-year-old Scot in the top spot yet again.

[ image: Lee Westwood: A horrendous time on the 14th]
Lee Westwood: A horrendous time on the 14th
Not even a course record-equalling 63 from Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke could dethrone him.

The brilliant round gave Clarke his fourth European tour victory - beating another Scot, Andrew Coltart by two strokes - with a 17 under par total of 271.

But it was not enough to kick Montgomerie off the spot he has held since 1993.

Montgomerie had to finish eighth to keep Clarke at bay and made it look easy, shooting a 68 to end one behind Coltart on 14 under.

It was, however, a slightly different story for England's Lee Westwood.

From joint leader overnight and with his nose ahead in the money list race, Westwood crashed to a quadruple bogey seven on the short 14th and with that his hopes died.

[ image: Monty: Held the top spot since 1993]
Monty: Held the top spot since 1993
The 25-year-old from Worksop finished with a 75 and dropped to 12th, allowing Clarke to take second spot from him on the final Order of Merit table.

"All I can say is that it's getting tougher - the standard is improving all the time," Montgomerie said.

"Darren's performance was fantastic. He has as much talent as anybody in world golf. He just has to use it more often.

"I saw he had gone to turn in 30 and I had to counteract him. I'm proud of the way I did it.

"I did exactly the right thing by staying away from the pins. Unfortunately, winning the Volvo Masters became secondary.

Clarke takes the money

Clarke, who collected a massive 336,000 first prize, dedicated the victory to close friend Stephen Boler, who died from a heart attack in South Africa during the week.

"I played really solid, gave myself lots of chances - and the putts dropped. For quite a long while they haven't been," he said.

Montgomerie received 63,000 for third place and a 170,000 bonus, taking his winnings for the year to a new record of 993,077.

For Westwood it was a day of bitter disappointment, however.

At the 172-yard 14th in the third round - and only two behind Montgomerie - he pulled his five-iron tee shot into the bushes left of the green.

His provisional was good - to 10 feet - but because the first was unplayable rather than lost or out of bounds he had to return to the tee.

His next tee shot went the same way as the first, so he had to hit a fourth, put it on the green and two-putted. There was then no way back.

"I played poorly. I struggled all day," he said. "My chances had gone by then. It was the start of the round that let me down."

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