Jeev in contention for back-to-back titles

November 22nd, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Nov 22 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh refused to get ahead of himself and think about becoming the first Asian player to win the Hong Kong Open in the last 10 years, as he shot a 66 and moved from overnight 10th to tied fourth at the end of the third day of the $2.5 million tournament. Lying at 10-under 200, the 37-year-old Indian pro, who has been in great form and won the Singapore Open last week to seal the Order of Merit besides numerous other landmarks, was three shots behind the leaders, England’s Oliver Wilson (65) and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang (64).

Jyoti Randhawa had a good round after a fairly long time with a four-under 66 that saw him rise from 46th to tied 25th at five-under. Randhawa had six birdies against two bogeys.

Gaurav Ghei seemed headed for a great round after his eagle on the 13th that took him four-under after 13 despite two bogeys, dropped two bogeys later on 15th and 18th against one birdie on 16th to finish at 67. He moved from overnight 61st to tied 42nd.

Jeev holed five birdies and one bogey in 66 and refused to get talked into saying that he was the favourite considering his recent form and last week’s win.

“Anybody from eight-under can take this. It’s going to be a great day tomorrow. Everyone will be fired up and may the best man win. I will keep doing what I’m doing and that’s where I get those 62s and 63s, but I think it will all come down to putting,” said Jeev, who has already sealed his second Order of Merit in three years.

But he did say: “I’m comfortable with the way I’m playing and I’m confident and looking forward to tomorrow, see what comes my way. This tournament has a lot of history and the set up is fantastic. It’s great to be here.”

Talking about tiredness at the start of the week, Jeev seemed refreshed at the prospect of being in the hunt. He laughed and said: “That’s (tiredness) gone out of the window. You put yourself in a good position, you start thinking about things which can happen. I guess I’m going to take it that way.”

The 28-year-old Wilson, who has eight runner-up finishes - five of them this season - is looking for his maiden European Tour win. Wilson holed six birdies against a lone dropped shot for a 13-under-par 197 total while Lin enjoyed a bogey free 64 to lie in second place at the Hong Kong Golf Club. Wilson recently lost out in a play-off to Sergio Garcia at the HSBC Champions.

Lin, who won the Asian Tour International in Thailand in March, enjoyed a solid finish having birdied the last two holes to remain a stroke behind the leader at the par-70 course.

Former winner Bernhard Langer of Germany, who won the event back in 1991, was two strokes off the pace when he fired an impressive 63 to lie in third spot. Langer has four wins this year - once on the European Senior Tour, in the Czech Republic, and three times on the US Champions Tour - on the way to topping their money list.

Langer, 51, nailed four straight birdies on the back nine on the way to a strong 63.

Tied with Jeev in fourth was Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy who also shot a 66 including three birdies on the last three holes. Italy’s Francesco Molinari was also in the mix in fourth place after his second straight 67 together with Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal who improved with a 64 for a 200 total.

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