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Len Ziehm On Golf

SR. PGA: Montgomerie’s dryspell in majors is over

BENTON HARBOR, MI. – The rap on Colin Montgomerie was that he couldn’t win the big ones. That changed on Sunday at Harbor Shores.

Montgomerie finally won a major title and finally won on American soil. In his Hall of Fame career he had done neither until his four-stroke romp in the 75th Senior PGA Championship.

Playing his entire career on the European PGA Tour Montgomerie accumulated three runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open and one each in the British Open and PGA Championship. Winning a major on the Champions Tour isn’t quite the same as winning one of those, but for Montgomerie – the winner of 40 other tournaments world-wide — it’ll do.

“I’ve been coming here for 22 years for major championship golf, trying to win,’’ said Montgomerie. “It’s a relief that it’s happened. It might have a senior connotation, but it is a major championship and it’s great to be part of history.’’

Tom Watson, who has won his share of majors – eight as a PGA Tour player and five more on the Champions circuit — was Montgomerie’s closest pursuer. Both shot 65s in the final round, Watson doing it thanks to putting four twos on his scorecard. He came within one shot of shooting his age and described his effort as “one of the best rounds from tee to green that I’ve played in years.’’

“But,’’ said Watson, “it wasn’t good enough to beat Colin. He never had any luck playing the regular tour, but he came close a lot of times.’’

Watson won’t be a challenger in Montgomerie’s next tournament appearance, the Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club next month. Busy with duties as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Watson ruled out his appearance in Chicago’s only pro tour stop of 2014 after Sunday’s round.