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Montgomerie's win streak ends

Colin Montgomerie saw several Ryder Cup runs come to an end Saturday morning.

When he and partner Padraig Harrington fell behind Davis Love and Stewart Cink after the first hole at Oakland Hills, it was the first time Montgomerie had trailed in any Ryder Cup match since the Saturday of the 1999 Ryder Cup, a span of 144 holes.

And when they lost the match 3 and 2, it was the first time since 1999 that the Scotsman was on the losing end of a Ryder Cup match.

"It was my game that was wrong," Montgomerie said. "I've never said sorry to a partner before in any of these matches. I didn't play particularly well. But as I say, it's a team event. I'll get it right (today)."

European captain Bernhard Langer put Montgomerie on the bench Saturday afternoon, a move that Montgomerie supported. He had played in a record 30 Ryder Cup sessions dating to 1991.

"I'm not into Ryder Cup records, individual Ryder Cup means nothing to me," said Montgomerie, whose overall record is 18-8-5. "It's a team event. That's why we are here."

SECOND-GUESSING: Chris Riley is the only American without a loss. Of course, he played in just two matches. And looking at what happened in the Saturday afternoon foursome, perhaps he should have been back out there. Riley won in the morning with Tiger Woods as his partner, but begged off in the afternoon.

"I'm really tired and he asked me if I wanted to go out this afternoon," Riley said, referring to captain Hal Sutton. "I want to be fresh and ready to go (this morning) because I think it's going to be a big deal. I'm pretty drained right now. I told him I wasn't ready to go. Look at our team. We have tons of guys who will step up and play."

Huh? Riley is 30 years old. Jay Haas, 50, played twice Saturday, and the move didn't look so good when Haas and Chris DiMarco were trounced 5 and 4 by Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. Haas was playing his third consecutive match. Without Riley, Sutton put Woods with Love, and they lost, too.

Sutton seemed at a loss. He reminded Riley that in 1999, as a 42-year-old "fat guy," he played five Ryder Cup matches and that he wasn't a "30-year-old flat belly" like Riley.

Ultimately, Sutton said, he wasn't going to make Riley play if he didn't really want to.

TIGER'S TROUBLES: Woods all but took the blame for the 4-and-3 loss with Love to Harrington and Paul McGinley. Woods and Love combined to win two Saturday matches two years ago at the Belfry, and appeared on their way after winning the first two holes in foursome. But they never won another hole and were beaten.

"We got off to a great start, we were 2-up, then I missed two putts right in a row," Woods said. "Actually, most of the holes they won they only won two holes with birdies. I missed some putts, hit a couple of bad shots and put us in a very difficult position to try and win the match.

"I didn't hit the ball very well and I didn't putt very well in the afternoon. That was a bad combination."

Woods' overall Ryder Cup record: 6-11-2.

_ BOB HARIG, Times staff writer