Colin Montgomerie, Europe’s Number One for the past seven seasons, produced two majestic eagles in the final five holes to claim his first title of the year when he won the Novotel Perrier Open de France at the Le Golf National. His final round of 68 gave Montgomerie a 16 under par winning total of 272 and moved him up to fourth in the Volvo Order of Merit with 355,667 euro.
With just a one shot lead over Jonathan Lomas playing the par five14th, Montgomerie produced a shot of pure brilliance, drilling a three wood exactly 262 yards to within inches of the pin to move three clear of the Englishman.
Montgomerie dropped a shot on the next, his only bogey of the day, when his ball flew out of the rough and through the green into the water and when Lomas holed a 20-foot putt for birdie on the 470-yards the gap was down to one. Lomas continued to apply the pressure on the last firing his second shot right over the flag to 18 feet to set up a birdie. But Montgomerie showed once again why he has dominated European golf over the last seven years.
With a six iron in his hands he hit another magnificent shot to within two feet to set up the flag to set up that final eagle and his first since the Cisco World Match Play last October.
“It’s nice to win again,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. I’ve had a slow start to the year and it’s nice to have a win already before we come into playing in Britain.
“And I’m delighted in the way it was done especially with Jonathan Lomas asking a lot of questions of me in the last few holes. He was playing super. His birdie on 17 was a great birdie and I had to hole a tricky five footer down the hill to remain one ahead.
“Then he hit the final green in two shots. I was going to hit a five iron but then went with a hard six and shut the door. That was good after eagling 14 as well. Two shots like that not having to hole a putt to be four under for those two holes. Those two shots won me the tournament.”
For Lomas, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday today, it was a new experience in which he revelled. Playing in the final group for the first time he made a solid start with eight straight pars and then a birdie on the ninth. Another birdie on the 11th pulled him level with Montgomerie. Although he dropped a shot on the 12th he hung in there with two closing birdies for a round of 69 and 14 under par total of 274.
“I gave him a good run,” said Lomas. “He made the eagle on 14 and that made the difference really. I missed a putt as well. Couple of three putts on the back nine as well were costly.
“But he made a couple of eagles on the back nine and what can you do. That’s when he started turning it on. But he only had to make one more mistake and it would have been a play-off.”
Three shots further back after a round of 70 was Australian Rodger Davis who, as he approaches his 49th birthday in 11 days, was bidding to become the oldest winner in European Tour history. John Senden, Fredrick Jacobsen and Roger Wessels shared fourth while New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, chasing a third European Tour title of the season, fell away with three successive bogeys from the 14th for a final round of 74 and a share of seventh on nine under par.