Jeev finishes 11th at Hong Kong Open golf

November 23rd, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Nov 23 (IANS) Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh stuttered on the opening nine and never gave himself a chance to challenge for the UBS Hong Kong Open title as he ended with a 69 to finish tied 11th in the final round here Sunday.Jeev, who was tied fourth overnight, finished with a total score of 11-under 269, five shots behind winner Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, who won a thrilling play-off against Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Italy’s Francesco Molinari. It was Lin’s first victory on the European Tour and he also became the first Asian player to win the Hong Kong Open in 10 years.

Jyoti Randhawa (67) moved up from overnight tied 28th to finish 19th to prime himself for a charge at the World Cup next week in the company of Jeev. Gaurav Ghei (70) ended tied 48th, down six places from his third round position.

Jeev needing to get off to a good start, opened with two pars and then bogeyed three in a row that effectively put a dampner on his challenge. He did well to recover from there with five birdies against just one more bogey for his 69. He birdied the sixth, seventh, 11th, 14th and 18th and dropped a bogey on 17th.

Randhawa shot three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys for his 67. Lin failed to sink a birdie putt from six feet on the last during regulation so had to enter a three way play-off with McIlroy and Molinari after the trio finished on 15 under par after 72 holes.

Oliver Wilson, looking for his maiden win had looked on line as he was 15-under with four holes to go. The he suddenly collapsed with three bogeys from 15th to 17th and fell to 12-under and ended in a tie for sixth.

Molinari could only par the first play-off hole on the par four 18th while Lin and McIlroy both birdied, meaning the two would face off again. Lin’s birdie was all the more remarkable as he had to hit his second shot out of the trees, over the water and a bunker and get it to stop on the tight 18th green.

Mcllroy sent his tee shot into a crowd of spectators to the left of the fairway but recovered to send his approach shot onto the edge of the green. Lin, meanwhile, hit the fairway from the tee before superbly hitting his second shot to within a foot of the pin and when McIlroy failed to putt for a birdie, the 34-year-old applied the easy finish to become the first Asian in a decade to win the tournament.

For McIlroy, despite the second place, it was a great finish. He failed to make the cut in Hong Kong last year at the start of his first full season on the European Tour.

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