Jeev, Digvijay slip on final day, finish tied 23rd

April 27th, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by admin  

Shanghai, April 27 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh and Digvijay Singh wilted on the final day and dropped down dramatically from possible top-10 finish to tied 23rd at the $ 2.3 million BMW Asian Open Golf tournament here Sunday. Digvijay tied fifth overnight shot a 77 after opening the day with a birdie, his only one of the day. Jeev also opened with a birdie but then dropped two doubles on fourth and sixth and five shots between the third and fifth and finished with a 76. The duo finished at two-over 290.

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke claimed an emotional victory with a heroic final-hole birdie for a final round of one-over 73 and won his first title since Taiheiyo Masters in Japan in 2005 with a total of eight under 280.

Of the other Indians Shiv Kapur (71, 75, 74, 74) ended the tournament in tied 46th with a total of six over 294, while S.S.P. Chowrasia (72, 73, 72, 79) totalled eight over 296 for the tournament to be tied 55th.

Digvijay looking good for a top-10 after his third round 67, started his final round on a bright note when he birdied the first hole. But thereafter he dropped bogeys on the second, fourth, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th to close the tournament with a 77.

Jeev also started round four with a birdie on the first. However, a bogey on the third and double bogeys on the fourth and sixth holes dashed his hopes of a good finish. On the back nine Jeev could only manage one birdie on the 15th. He also bogeyed the 14th.

Clarke drained a 30-foot putt on the 18th hole to beat a gallant Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands by one shot and end his three-year title drought at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club.

It marked a welcome return to the winner’s circle for Clarke, who has endured a difficult past few years following the death of his wife Heather through cancer in 2006 and a dip in form.

Clarke carded a final round of one-over-par 73 in tough conditions for an eight-under-par 280 aggregate to secure his 11th career victory on the European Tour and his first since the 2005 Taiheiyo Masters in Japan.

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang holed a 25-foot birdie on the 18th for a 72 to earn a share of third place, three behind the winner as he finished as the top Asian in the $2.3 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and China Golf Association.

“This one is very special,” said a jubilant Clarke, who screamed in delight after his putt disappeared into the cup at the last. “This is the toughest one of all of them and it’s nice to get back up to where I feel my golf should be. It’s nice to win again and it’s a really, really good feeling.”

Clarke, the third round leader, dropped a bogey on the third before recovering with birdies on the fifth and 10th to stay in front of playing partner Derksen, who also signed off with a 73.

But three bogeys over a four-hole stretch from the 14th opened the door for Derksen but Clarke had the final say and holed his winning putt, which looked as if he had help from the golfing gods.

“I was thinking of getting it to the hole (on the 18th) and I wasn’t going to lag it up. I putted nicely this week, and wanted to give myself a chance on the last and I hit a solid putt. It was tracking six foot out and sometimes it’s meant to go in. My boys Tyrone and Conner would have liked that putt more than I did.”

Chinese Taipei’s Lin holed a long birdie putt, which earned him joint third place on 283.

Australian legend Greg Norman signed off with a 71 for a share of 14th place on 288.

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