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Jeev Milkha Singh wins Scottish Open

other Updated: Jul 16, 2012 09:16 IST
Ht Correspondent
Ht Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Jeev Milkha Singh

Jeev Milkha Singh beat Francesco Molinari with a birdie on the first play-off hole to win the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on Sunday.

Jeev, who also qualified for The Open this week, beat the Italian Molinari, brother of 2010 champion Edoardo, with a 12-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole. Both players found the fairway off the tee and with their second shots down the par five but the advantage swung in Jeev's favour when he hit his approach to 15 feet.

When Molinari's 25-foot effort pulled up well short, Jeev calmly stroked his birdie putt home to become the champion.

The 40-year-old Indian, who started Sunday five shots off the lead at T16, hit a five-under 67 to finish on 17-under par for the £2.5 million event. His fourth victory on the European Tour ended a four-year drought.

"I was just enjoying a cup of tea and some chocolate cake and watching it on television, and suddenly got excited," said Jeev, who was three shots behind Marc Warren when he signed his card.

"I think God has been kind and I would like to thank a lot of people who have been by my side the last three, four years that have been a struggle for me with the injuries.

"It has been really tough --- frustrating than anything else. You feel like your game is coming back and another injury creeps up, but I just stuck myself in there and said that you need to work on the physical side, and I worked hard on that. Everything has paid off, and I just want to think about the good things and not what's past and I want to look towards the future now," said Jeev after lifting the trophy and cheque of euro 518,046.

Jeev was assured of The Open spot going into sudden death because Molinari was already exempt for Royal Lytham.

It will be his second appearance in the event after he missed the cut at Carnoustie five years ago. “I just love links golf," said Jeev, although he had a different opinion when he first experienced it as a 16-year-old in 1988.

That was for the qualifying rounds of the British Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl and also Pyle and Kenfig. He shot 87 and 84. He birdied four of the first six holes, then added another on the 363 yard tenth and parred in.

It looked like three-putting the 337-yard 16th after driving the green and leaving a 14-foot attempt on the last short of the hole would cost him — before those in the final groups started to struggle.

SSP Chowrasia, a two-time winner on the European Tour, also had a strong finish at T11.