SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Add the World Cup of Golf to Colin Montgomerie’s long resume.
Montgomerie and Marc Warren gave Scotland its first victory in the World Cup, defeating Americans Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum on Sunday with a par on the third hole of a playoff in southern China.
The victory at the Mission Hills Golf Club made up for Scotland’s loss last year in Barbados on the first hole of a playoff with Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem.
Montgomerie’s tap-in for par on the third extra hole was good enough for the Scots when Weekley missed a 15-foot attempt to save par.
“It’s been a long time for Scotland to win the World Cup, since 1953,” said Montgomerie, an eight-time European No. 1. “There was pressure to come back after a playoff loss like we did last year, which was disappointing.”
The Americans forced the playoff on the last hole of regulation in alternate-shot play when Slocum made a 5-foot birdie putt.
On the first playoff hole, Slocum missed a 7-foot birdie attempt that would have won it. Seconds before, Warren holed a 12-footer to save par. A miss would have handed the event to the Americans. On the second extra hole, both teams narrowly missed birdie attempts – Weekley from 20 feet and Warren from 12.
Weekley’s approach shot on the final playoff hole was short, and Slocum’s chip left his teammate with a difficult putt.
“Putting is the strong suit of my game, and I really didn’t have a good putting week at all,” Slocum said. “I was just due for the week to make something.”
Montgomerie chimed in, saying Slocum’s missed putt was the turning point.
“From then on, I felt we were the favorites,” he said.
Scotland shot a 6-under 66 and the Americans – they led by a stroke after each of the first three rounds – had a 67 to finish regulation at 25-under 263. France’s Gregory Havret and Raphael Jacquelin had a 67 to finish a stroke back. England’s Ian Poulter and Justin Rose also had a 67 to finish fourth at 23 under.
Weekley and Slocum were fortunate to be playing in the event. Weekley, ranked No. 43, was invited after 13 Americans ranked ahead of him turned it down. He then picked Slocum, his high-school friend from the Florida Panhandle.
“We weren’t even supposed to be here and that’s even a bonus,” Weekley said. “I know we feel disappointed how we finished up, but overall it was a great week.”
Montgomerie and Warren took a two-stroke lead with an eagle on the par-5 15th after Montgomerie’s approach left Warren with a 6-foot putt. Slocum pulled the Americans within one with a 10-foot birdie putt on 15, and the United States forced the playoff with the birdie on No. 18.
The Americans reached 23 under with four birdies in five holes on the front nine – the last two on Nos. 6 and 7 on putts by Slocum.
But they scrambled after that.
They missed a chance to reach 24 under when Slocum’s 2-foot birdie lipped out at No. 9. Weekley made a 10-foot putt to save par on 12, and Slocum missed a 15-footer for birdie on 13.
The World Cup was first played 54 years ago as the Canada Cup and has been won by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods.
The tournament has struggled in recent years to gain traction. This was the first year of a 12-year contract at Mission Hills, a lush, rolling layout.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Slocum said. “This would have been icing on the cake to top it off with a victory.”