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Montgomerie In Front At BMW

Colin Montgomerie threatened to be the spoiler in the European Ryder Cup race by grabbing a share of the lead Friday at the BMW International Open's halfway point.

The Scotsman, headed to his seventh straight year as Europe's leading money-winner, shot an 8-under 64 to share the lead with Ireland's Padraig Harrington at 11-under-par 133.

Montgomerie, chasing his fifth title this year, long ago wrapped up his berth for the team to be announced Sunday at the end of the $1.25 million event.

"There's a lot of tension out there but If I stop others from qualifying, then that's the way it is," Montgomerie said. "I've come here to win."

Montgomerie and Harrington, whose late charge to make the Ryder Cup team continued with a 67, took the lead when Welsh rookie David Park stumbled to two bogeys and settled for an even par 72 round.

That left Park, who fired a course-tying 62 Thursday, a stroke back. He had led all day until his 3-foot-putt for par on the fast greens bounced out of the cup on the 17th.

France's Jean Van de Velde protected his almost certain ninth spot on the team that will defend its trophy against the United States Sept. 24-26 by making the cut.

Harrington, Scotland's Andrew Coltart and veterans' Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam all helped their chances with strong rounds.

Van de Velde, best known for his collapse when he appeared to have the British Open won, admitted to nerves as he stumbled to four bogeys on the back nine. He ended with a 73 round and at 3-under 281.

"I slept terribly last night and physically I was gone," said Van de Velde. "I couldn't swing at all."

Sweden's Robert Karlsson shot a 71 and was at 3-under for the event, clinging to the 10th and final Ryder qualifying berth.

Coltart, right behind the Swede in the points list, fired a 6-under 68 and was among the leaders at 4-under-par 138 for his two rounds.

Langer helped his cause with a 68 that left him at 7-under-par for the event and is widely expected to be one of James' two wild-card picks if he doesn't make the team with a top three finish.

Langer, who has swung in every Cup since 1981, is expected to bring some experience to a European squad that will tee off with five rookies against the Americans in Brookline, Mass.

Woosnam and Sweden's Jesper Parnevik are the other names believed to top James' list of wild-card possibilities.

Woosnam was three strokes back of the leaders at 6-under 136, after firing a 66, along with Phillp Price of Wales, and another Ryder Cup hopeful, England's John Bickerton.

Bickerton would have to win the event to make the team.

A pair of Australians, Wayne Riley and Jarrod Moseley, were tied for third at 135.

One veteran won't be in Brookline. Spain's Seve Ballesteros, the former team captain and a key player in Europe's dramatic win two years ago in Valderrama, said he won't be attending the Ryder Cup.

"There is nothing for me to do," he said.

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