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Golf: Monty joins big stars by falling at first hurdle.

Byline: DALE RANKIN

COLIN MONTGOMERIE crashed out in the first round of the World Matchplay Championship yesterday - but the big Scot was not alone.

Top three seeds Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval were also beaten in the opening games of the tournament over La Costa, California - and they didn't have Monty's excuse of having just recovered from bad back trouble.

Montgomerie, seeded 20, fell 2 and 1 to Californian Scott McCarron. He was phlegmatic about the result, saying: "Never mind. Less than four weeks ago I would have given myself no chance of being here because of my back. I said success would be hitting the shots I wanted to and I did.

"I did miss a fairway and I lost."

McCarron had holed-in-one at the 204-yard 14th to go one up - even though Monty almost halved the hole, his tee shot being 18 inches short.

Woods fell to Australian last-man-in Peter O'Malley by 2 and 1. O'Malley should not even have been playing.

He was a late reserve for Argentina's Jose Coceres who pulled out last week.

But O'Malley had no nerves about facing the World No.1

He said: "I was just happy to be here at all."

He took the match with an 18-foot birdie putt at the long 17th after Woods had pitched to two feet.

Mickelson joined the list of casualties by losing 3 and 2 to fellow countryman John Cook while Duval lost at the 20th to 62nd seed Kevin Sutherland.

Other big name losers included Bernhard Langer, seeded 15th, who went out to Australian Adam Scott 2 and 1, and Darren Clarke.

The Ulsterman's return to the scene of his greatest golf triumph brought only misery.

He crashed out 2 and 1 to American Matt Gogel, who lies 47 places below him in the world rankings. Clarke, winner of the $1million first prize in 2000 by defeating Tiger Woods 4 and 3 in the final, failed to recreate that mood and went out of the event before five of the 32 games had even teed off.

He made a good enough start, holing from 18 feet on the short third but Gogel's response was immediate.

The match came alive again when Clarke birdied the 11th and 12th but his bogey at the 378-yard 15th put him back in deep trouble.

He had to make a 15-footer on the long 17th to stay alivebut lipped out.

Clarke said: "Tee to green everything was really good but my putting was shocking."

Padraig Harrington, the No.11 seed, was all over the place and went down 3 and 2 to Anerican Steve Flesch.

But Lee Westwood beat Shingo Katayama of Japan 3 and 2.

Paul McGinley (Ire) beat Joe Durant 5 and 4; Nick Price (Zim) beat Angel Cabrera (Arg) 2 and 1; Sergio Garcia (Spa) beat Lee Janzen 3 and 2; Scott Hoch lost to Steve Lowery 5 and 4;Davis Love beat Phil Price 2 and 1; Paul Azinger beat Jesper Parnevik (Swe) 1 hole; Ernie Els (SA) beat Jeff Sluman 4 and 3; Retief Goosen (SA) beat Billy Mayfair 4 and 3; Jose Maria Olazabal (Sp) beat Justin Leonard (Eng), 1 hole;

Jim Furyk beat Billy Andrade at the 20th.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 21, 2002
Words:539
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