Montgomerie leads Tiger Woods entering the final 18 holes at St. Leon-Rot in Heidelberg. The 38-year-old Scot shot 7-under 65 to move to 17-under-par 199, while Tiger did him one better Sunday to get within a single stroke.
Mondays showdown could prove anticlimactic if Montgomeries ailing back flares. Hes been on twice-daily painkillers to alleviate the discomfort all week, and needed two on-course treatments in round three.
I need to get some flexibility into my back if I want to have a chance of competing tomorrow, Montgomerie said following a round that consisted of one eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys. I didnt think I would continue after the third hole (Sunday). I got a physio, Dale Richardson, to come out at the sixth and put something hot on my back, then he gave me five minutes of manipulation in the starters hut at the ninth green.
Ive got a very weak back. I never thought my career would come to this, but it has. Unfortunately, Ive got to try to protect it. The best thing would be for me to take time off but I cant. I have to keep on taking the painkillers. I will need to get some flexibility into the back to have a chance of playing and winning.
In the circumstances, 65 was a good effort, the second best score of the day. Tigers name on the board kept me going and every birdie I made, he seemed to match. Tomorrow Ive got to play my own game and do what I do best, which is hit fairways and greens. If I do that I have a chance. If I try to play his game, then I would lose.
Englands Justin Rose shot 66 and is in third place at 14-under. Fellow Englishman Greg Owen is a shot further removed after a 68. Germanys Alex Cejka, who held at least a share of the lead through the first two rounds, shot 1-under 71 and is now tied for fifth, six back at 11-under.
Woods recorded a flawless third-round 64. He opened with a 3-iron to 12 feet for an eagle at the par-5 first. He then birdied the second, third and fifth holes to accelerate to the top of the leaderboard. Tiger went on to post five more red numbers without a bogey.
This will mark the second time Woods and Montgomerie have played in the final group; the first occurred in the third round of the 1997 Masters Tournament.
On that occasion, Woods bettered his European adversary 65 to 74 en route to his first major triumph.
Its going to be a lot of fun going out to compete with Colin. Hes a friend of mine and I thoroughly enjoy playing with him and competing against him, Woods said. Its been a while since I hit the ball like that. Everything was right where I wanted it and it was an awful lot of fun to do that. That 64 is better than the 63 I shot in the third round last year.
Woods is trying to become the first man to successfully defend his crown in this event. He also won here in 1999. Montgomerie captured the title in 1989, when it was played in Portugal.
Full-field scores from the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open