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Sunday, September 26, 1999 Published at 22:15 GMT 23:15 UK


Monty claims hollow victory

Colin Montgomerie thinks about what might have been

Colin Montgomerie (Eur) bt Payne Stewart (US) one-up, to make the final score US 14½-13½ Europe

A disconsolate Colin Montgomerie narrowly defeated Payne Stewart at Brookline, playing out the last hole of the Ryder Cup to record one of just three singles victories for Europe.

Disappointment was etched on the Scot's face as his opponent conceded the last putt on the 18th for a hollow one-up victory.

"We only lost by a point," he said afterwards, admitting that he was "very disappointed".

"Although we're all gutted, there's a lot to look forward to with seven rookies who will play in future cups."

He also reserved some criticism for the occasionally over-exuberant American crowds, saying: "All week they acted like a 13th American player - but sometimes that support spilled over the edge."

Monster putt

Montgomerie had the sounder start to the tie, with Stewart finding the light rough twice on the way to the first green.

The Scot had a birdie putt to go ahead, but the ball lipped out and handed his opponent a half.

He found his line with a monster 30ft birdie putt on the third, but the American was closer to the pin and put it down to halve the hole again.

The European number one narrowly missed going ahead when he lipped out again with a birdie putt from the fringe on the fourth and Stewart's escape shot from the bunker put him close enough to halve.

Montgomerie finally opened up a gap with a huge 30ft putt on the fifth. Stewart - putting from the same line, but closer - missed to lose the hole.

On the sixth, he gave himself the chance of stretching his lead with a sublime 180-yard approach shot that landed within three feet of the pin and he duly converted it.

Then on the seventh, Stewart missed the green to let the rock-steady Scot in for another win and a three-hole advantage - offering the beleagured Europeans some hope.

But the American struck back over the next two holes.

Hecklers

Stewart won the eighth by holing a hugely impressive chip-on from 20ft, then Montgomerie missed an extremely difficult putt on the ninth to hand him a second consecutive win.

It looked like Stewart was going to level it on the ninth, but he drew his eagle putt short and the hole was halved.

He had another opportunity on the 10th, after Montgomerie was rattled by hecklers at the tee. But this time the Scot rescued himself with a brilliant scramble to halve again and maintain his one-hole lead.

Montgomerie chose the hardest hole of the course, the 12th, to extend his lead - sinking another outstanding putt - to force Stewart to hole a 15-footer.

From the moment he struck it, the ball looked certain to drift wide and it did, giving Europe's best player a two-hole advantage.

Stewart came back again on the 14th with a birdie to cut the Scot's lead to just one and again on the 15th to square the match at a crucial phase of the competition for Europe.

But by the time they reached the 18th, it was clear that the US had won - and Stewart let the tie go to Montgomerie by conceding the Scot's superior position on the green.





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