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Friendly Foes

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There may be no 'I' in team, but there is a 'me.' Such is relevant to Angel Cabrera and Jose Coceres. In two weeks, the two Argentines will represent their country in the Alfred Dunhill Cup. But until that week comes, the friends remain foes.
 
Thursday, the countrymen each carded a pair of 6-under-par 66s to share the first-round lead at the Linde German Masters with Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Sweden's Patrik Sjoland.
 
The last time Sjoland held at least a share of the 18-hole lead, he won the event. That took place mid-way through the season at the Murphy's Irish Open. Now, the Swede looks for a repeat of that accomplishment in Cologne, Germany.
 
'After winning in Ireland I just haven't been getting good starts and it's always been a case of catching up,' Sjoland said.
 
'I'm lying 22nd on the rankings at the moment, and my target is top 15 so I can be sure of places in next year's U.S. Open and British Open, and there is very big money here this week,'
 
While Sjoland vies for win No. 2 in 2000, so too does Harrington. The Irishman captured the Brazil Sao Paulo 500 Years Open in April - his second-career Tour title.
 
Last week, Harrington was in position for a third European triumph. He led through three rounds of the Belgacom Open, but was passed by a surging Lee Westwood on Sunday.
 
While four players share first place, six more are just one-shot back. Germany's own Bernhard Langer is tied with Englishmen Roger Winchester and David Carter; Scotsmen Colin Montgomerie and Gary Orr; and Italian Emanuele Canonica.
 
Langer is in search of his fourth-career German Masters title, but more importantly, the 43-year-old German is seeking a return trip to the 2001 Ryder Cup. Over $400,000 and 450,000 Ryder Cup points are on offer for first place at the Gut Larchenhof Golf Club.
 
'I won't be playing 25 to 30 qualifying tournaments, so when I play, I have to play well,' said Langer, whose last European victory came at the 1997 Linde German Masters.
 
Montgomerie is a guaranteed lock to play at The Belfry in 2001. But what is in doubt for the 1998 German Masters champion is an eighth-straight Order of Merit title in 2000. Monty currently resides in 5th place in earnings, over $730,000 behind leader Lee Westwood.
 
Westwood is in a 16-way tie for 32nd place after opening in 2-under-par 70. In all, 62 of the 108 players in the field are within five shots of the first-round lead. Defending champion Sergio Garcia is six off the lead after shooting an even-par 72.