Jeev strikes gold with brilliant iron play in Japan golf

July 27th, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS  


Hokkaido (Japan), July 27 (IANS) Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh playing only his second event in Japan this year struck his best form to win the Nagashima Shigeo Invitational Sega Sammy Cup here Sunday. Jeev, who was lying fourth at the start of the final day found three birdies in the last four holes enroute to a six-under 66 to surge to a two-shot win for his third career win in Japan.

“This is a great reward to make up for the disappointment of sitting out the British Open,” said Jeev, who has been having a great season. This was the second title for Jeev this season.

Jeev now has three titles each from Japan and European Tours besides four others on Asian Tour.

His 66 on the final day took his tally to 13-under 275 and he finished two shots clear of overnight leader Sushi Ishigaki (72), who succumbed to pressure and dropped a bogey on the last hole.

Before the Sega Sammy Cup, Jeev’s first win of the year came in the Bank Austria Open last month. He came close to qualifying for the British Open on more than one occasion but in the end failed to make the cut.

There was a four-way tie for third place at nine-under with Ryo Ishikawa (67), Taigen Tsugamari (68), Akio Sadakata (69) and David Smail (69), all of whom finished at nine-under.

Jeev, who has been having some problems with his ankle and has been advised rest, decided to go ahead with his commitment to play two weeks in Japan before moving to the US.

“I have been playing very well these last few weeks and it was just bad luck that I could not get into British Open at Birkdale. I have always enjoyed Japan and I have such great memories here, as I won twice in 2006. Earlier this year at the Crowns also I had a chance but finished sixth,” added Jeev.

“My goal is to get back to top-50 and play all Majors and the big events and that’s what all golfers aim for.”

Jeev, starting the day four shots behind leader Ishigaki, birdied the third and fourth and then added a third birdie on eighth to turn in three-under, at which point, he was just one shy of Ishigaki, who had parred the front nine with all pars.

Jeev birdied the 11th but gave that away on the next with a three-putt bogey on 12th. But Ishigaki, playing a group behind, also bogeyed the 12th and Jeev, the three-under for the day, was the co-leader with Ishigaki, now one-over for the day.

The see-saw battle continued as Jeev parred the par-5 13th and 14th, but Ishigaki, following him, birdied the 13th and 14th to move into lead again.

Jeev hit back with birdies on 15th and 16th to move ahead again. Then Jeev birdied the last hole to set the clubhouse lead at 13-under, while Ishigaki came to the 18th tee at 12-under and needing a birdie to send the tournament into a play-off.

Jeev didn’t have to worry as Ishigaki missed the fairway and then reached the green only in four and two-putted for a bogey and lost by two shots.

Jeev drove brilliantly missing just one green through the day but again needed 30 putts for the day. However, his brilliant iron play carried the day.

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