Displaying an amazingly strong mind, Jeev Milkha Singh overcame personal tragedy to win his fourth title of the season, the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup, on Sunday.other Updated: Dec 07, 2008 23:32 IST
Displaying an amazingly strong mind, Jeev Milkha Singh overcame personal tragedy to win his fourth title of the season, the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup, on Sunday.
Faced with the tragedy of losing his first child, who was delivered still born in a Tokyo hospital earlier this week, Jeev had not hit not a single ball before he teed up for the tournament on Thursday.
He started with a 64 in the first round and then went on to win the title with a total of 12-under 268 with rounds of 64-70-68-66, in only his fourth start in Japan this season. That gave him a two-shot win over defending champion Brendan Jones (64), who tied for second with David Smail (66) and Taichi Teshima (68) at 10-under 270.
Jeev, who missed the Wednesday Pro-Am, was urged to play by his wife, who felt he needed to take his mind off the tragedy. He was given special permission to play in the main tournament, as players missing the Pro-Am are not allowed to tee off in the main event. But the organising committee keeping in view the exceptional circumstances allowed him to play.
"Maybe I'm playing well because I'm just going out there to play. When there is no focus, you just go out and hit the ball," said Jeev, who has already won the Bank Austria Open on the European Tour, the Singapore Open in Sentosa on the Asian Tour and the Sega Sammy Invitational in Japan this season.
After the first round, Jeev had said he was not in the mindset to play but was convinced by his wife, Kudrat, to go to the course straight from the hospital. This was Jeev's second win in the tournament, having claimed it the first time in 2006 and last year after leading till the penultimate hole, he double bogeyed the final hole to drop to third.
"I love Japan and this surely has to be my favourite tournament, having won twice and coming close one other time," said Jeev, who admitted his focus on golf was just not there this week.
"It is very difficult to focus on the game, when my mind is on something else," said Jeev. "My mind is on so many other things that are more important to me than even golf. A lot happened in my family over the last few days and we have gone through quite a bit. Besides my wife, I want to dedicate this win to the family members. It was God's will and I hope there is something better in future for us."
Jeev, who started the final day in tied third place, opened with a birdie on the second to catch up with overnight co-leader Toshinori Muto (71), even as the other third round co-leader Thai Prayad Marksaeng (74) fell behind with bogeys on first and third.
Once in the lead, Jeev played steadily with birdies on sixth and seventh holes to turn in three-under and firmly in lead.
Defending champion Jones had three birdies on the front nine, as he jumped from overnight four-under to seven-under but Jeev was still way ahead.