Montgomerie claims Masters by one from Green
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2001 Ericsson Masters | Wrap | 18 Feb 2001
Despite the fact that he hadn’t played for nearly two months it was clear that Colin Montgomerie was ready for the task of winning the Ericsson Masters from early in the week. Montgomerie finished at –10 following a final round –3 (69) to win by a stroke from Nathan Green.
It appeared that we were witnessing a man more at peace with himself than we have seen in some time. Gone were the signs of the angry man of recent times and even on the occasions where distractions occurred this week he backed off and waited rather than confronted. His body language both on and off course was positive and calm perhaps a reflection on a more settled personal life and surely a very positive sign for a man with yet more to achieve in the game despite his amazing record.
Starting the final round with a three shot lead it always appeared that Rumford’s biggest danger would be those back in the pack rather than those closest to him. That proved to be the case with Montgomerie, five behind going into the last round shooting a three under 69 that being good enough on a difficult day for scoring more especially compared to the course set up and conditions of earlier in the week.
Rumford, perhaps suffering from a lack of recent form on the ANZ Australasian Tour (8th his best this season prior to this week), was found wanting in the heat of the battle but he is a fine player and competitor and now that he appears to have found form again if he gets in to that situation this week at the TPC he may not succumb so easily.
Nathan Green, who in just his third year as a professional, has been establishing credibility slowly but surely with his victories in Canada and on the Development Tour (Queensland PGA) in 2000. His effort at the Ericsson Masters will likely be remembered for his hole in one and the resulting $500,000 but it is clear that he has quite a game and the platforms he has been building along with this performance will afford him the confidence to move to the next level. His $102,000 for second moves him to 14th on the revised ANZ Tour money list.
This week’s TPC Championship will be played on a revamped Concord Golf Club with virtually the whole course rebunkered and strategies upgraded in recent years. General opinion is that the course is now an outstanding test and that it will provide an excellent venue for such an important event.
With prize money increased to $1,500,000 and a first prize the usual 18%($270,000) of the total purse, the event offers an outstanding finale to a season that has seen the emergence of several players destined to become the future of the game, not only in Australia, but worldwide.