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Monty Looking for Rare Repeat

2006 UBS Hong Kong ChampionshipHONG KONG -- Colin Montgomerie will be looking to accomplish a rare feat at the Hong Kong Open this weekend when he tries to become the first golfer in more than 40 years to win the event in consecutive years.
The Scottish Ryder Cup star won here last year with a 9-under 271 after South Africa's James Kingston dropped a double bogey on the final hole to lose his one-stroke lead in the tournament jointly sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.
'I benefited from my fair share of luck on my way to winning last year,' Montgomerie said. 'It was a real honor to see my name go on the trophy alongside names such as Peter Thomson, Tom Watson, my European colleagues Ian Woosnam and Jose Maria Olazabal, and also some of Asia's best players.'
The last player to win consecutive Hong Kong Open titles was Taiwan's Hsieh Yung-yo, in 1963 and 1964. The $2 million event -- which begins Thursday -- was first staged in 1959, making it the longest running sporting event here.
Defending the title at the par 70 Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling could be difficult for Montgomerie as this year's lineup includes majors winners Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell. Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won the 2004 Open, will be looking to reclaim the title, while three-time Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley of Ireland makes his first appearance here since 2001.
'I have successfully defended a few tournaments before and would very much like to do it this time,' Montgomerie said. 'I haven't won for a year now. I want to change that in a hurry and win here just in time for the calendar year. I'm looking forward to trying to do that.'
Campbell is coming off a course-record equaling final round at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday to share third place with Goosen at the HSBC Champions.
'I am really excited about the three weeks coming up, starting with Hong Kong,' the New Zealander said. 'I played it three or four years ago and finished top 10. My form is good at the moment. I finished second to Goosen a month ago and a top three this week so my form has finally turned the corner.'
Goosen said he's expecting some tough competition.
'With a European Tour field, it will be tough,' the South African said. 'I understand it's the strongest field they've had here and I'll need to have my A game to do well this week.'
India's Jeev Milkha Singh, Asia's top earner with $470,108 hopes to clinch the Asian Order of Merit with another victory after winning the Volvo Masters in Spain last month and the China Open in April.
'A good finish would be nice out here, but I'm not going to think too much and concentrate on my game,' he said. 'I never set a target before a tournament but instead I always play my game and take it a step at a time and that is what I will be doing here.'
However, Singh said an injured right wrist might hurt his game and prevent him from moving up to the world top-50 rankings.
'I've spoken to my doctor and my doctor said I need time off, and that is what I can't do right now,' said Singh, who wants a spot at the Masters next April.
Other Asian stars playing this year include South Korea's K.J. Choi, India's Jyoti Randhawa and Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, Thongchai Jaidee and Prom Meesawat -- who's ranked second on Asia's Order of Merit with earnings of $351,871.
Choi, who finished one shot behind Montgomerie last year, said the Fanling course suits him well.
'The tee shot is very important and so is the second shot,' he said. 'But the key is how the player is going to attack the pin. I think the player who has the strong second shot will have the edge.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Hong Kong Open
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