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Monty to build on battle royal

Colin Montgomerie led Europe to victory over Asia to reclaim the Royal Trophy then focused his attention on assessing potential picks for the Ryder Cup.

Swede Henrik Stenson kept his cool to make par from six feet to halve his match and secure an 8 1/2-7 1/2 win for Europe over Asia at Amata Spring Country Club.

The Scot, standing in for Seve Ballesteros as the Spaniard continues his recovery from brain surgery, assembled a team consisting of youth and experience for the tournament as they bounced back from last year's 10-6 defeat to Asia.

Montgomerie said: "It was an honour to captain the team. We came here with a strong team and it was very, very close.

"It is a very important year for European golf and this has been a good start for us and we hope to build on this throughout the year."

Montgomerie had opted to include himself as a player as well as captaining the team in order to get a closer look at potential picks for his Ryder Cup team in October.

But the eight-time Order of Merit winner certainly played his part in the victory as he drew upon his vast experience of matchplay golf to keep his cool against Liang Wen-chong, matching the Chinese No1's birdie on the last to ensure the game finished all-square.

Koumei Oda claimed an unexpected point for the hosts with a dominant 5&3 win over Alexander Noren before Jeev Milkha Singh defeated Sweden's Robert Karlsson 2&1.

But wins for Peter Hanson, Pablo Martin and Soren Kjeldsen meant it was down to the final match between Stenson and Thongchai Jaidee to determine the outcome.

Stenson was three down after nine holes but the world number seven battled back to level matters with three holes remaining.

However, a play-off seemed certain when Asia number one Thongchai coolly sank a birdie putt from eight feet on the 17th to go one up.

The Thai's putt for par on the last shaved the lip before Stenson holed from seven feet to make par and secure the victory for Europe.

Meanwhile, Geoff Ogilvy has made a triumphant start to the PGA Tour for a second year in a row, only this time the Australian wants to ensure he remains on an even keel for the rest of the season.

Twelve months ago, victory at the Tour's opening event in Kapalua was followed by another success at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship before he lost his bearings because of too much practice.

"I think I've got an awareness of where I kind of went a bit astray last year," Ogilvy said after winning the season-opening SBS Championship by one shot yesterday.

"I think I forced it a little bit when the game went a bit awry, instead of waiting for it to come back."


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