Monty Looking for Golden Opportunity

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From the Middle East to the Far East, the European Tour touches down at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club in Shanghi, Singapore, for this week's Caltex Masters.
 
Although the field will be somewhat diluted due to an always-strong foreign contingent at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Fla., several players on hand have probably made note of that fact and will be looking to capitalize on the situation.
 
Most noticeably Scotland's Colin Montgomerie.
 
In what has been a glorious golfing career, the 40-year-old European Tour legend has definitely seen his share of ups and downs, although the Scot has seen mostly the ups when it comes between the two.
 
But lately, Monty has seen the tide turn somewhat, first losing his seven year strangle hold on the tour's Order of Merit back in 2000 to Lee Westwood, then last year he saw his streak of winning at least one European Tour event a season snapped after 10 years. He did, however, notch a tournament victory in 2003, winning the Asian Tours Macau Open in China.
 
His performance in last year's majors was one of the worst in his career, missing three of four cuts, with the lone exception being a tie for 42nd in the U.S. Open. All was not lost though, as he did muster up two second-place finishes - the Italian Open and the Nordic Open - to go along with three other top 10 finishes.
 
Some of the other top names standing in Monty's way this week are defending champion Lian-Wei Zhang, New Zealands Michael Campbell and the resurgent Paul McGinley.
 
Zhang, from China, won last year's title in dramatic fashion over Ernie Els to become the first Chinese golfer to win an event on The European Tour.
 
Trailing Els by a shot coming to the last, Zhang's 9-iron approach to within four feet set up a birdie as Els missed a five-foot par saving putt to give the 38-year-old Zhang the improbable victory. He is currently ranked 168th in the world, a notch below last year's Nationwide Tour player of the year and PGA Tour rookie Zach Johnson.
 
McGinley, one of Europe's Ryder Cup heroes in 2002, has had a couple of strong showings of late. He tied for 12th at the Carlsberg Malaysian Open before losing a final round duel with Mark O'Meara to finish alone in second at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Now in its fourth year, the tournament has a $900,000 purse and is co-sanctioned by both the European Tour and the Asian Tour.
 
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - Caltex Masters