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Cejka Leads Final Ryder Cup Warmup

September 16, 1999

SAINT-NOM LA-BRETECHE, France (AP) _ Alex Cejka of Germany outplayed seven members of Europe’s Ryder Cup team in the opening round of the Lancome Trophy on Thursday, firing a 7-under par 64 for a two-shot lead.

Europe’s leading golfer, Colin Montgomerie, was among three to shoot 66 in the last warmup before Europe plays the United States in the Ryder Cup next week in Brookline, Mass.

Peter Senior of Australia and Argentine Jose Coceres also had 66s.

Six golfers were bracketed at 67.

Cejka did not make the Ryder Cup team.

Ryder Cup wild card Andrew Coltart struggled at the start, with three straight bogeys before recovering for a 72, tying British Open winner Paul Lawrie.

Jose-Maria Olazabal of Spain shot a 68 and Jarmo Sandeln had a 70..

After completing his round, Montgomerie immediately answered Nick Faldo’s recent claim that he was operating in a ``comfort zone″ by declining to play the U.S. tour.

``Whether or not going to America has set me back in my career we will never know,″ the Scot said. ``But I will never regret it because my family always comes first.″

Montgomerie praised teammate Jean Van de Velde of France for coming back after losing a three-stroke lead on the last hole at the British Open.

``If that had happened to me I would have taken a long time out. But he came back after a week and hasn’t missed a cut since, and that is great credit to him,″ he said. ``He will be an asset to our team.″

Van de Velde shot a 68 in his first showing in front of French fans since the British Open, is one of the newcomers to the Ryder Cup team.

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