Seventh-place Jeev stays in contention at PGA tourney

August 9th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bloomfield Township (Michigan), Aug 9 (IANS) Hampered by an injured ankle, Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh was unable to step on the gas as he shot a four-over 74 and slipped to tied seventh at the midway stage of the US PGA Championship. Jeev, who shared the first round lead with a 68, is now two-over 142 and just three shots off the lead held by J.B. Holmes of the US Friday. Holmes shot a 68 after 71 in first round.

Missing the cut were Daniel Chopra (74-76) at 10-over 150, two shots off the cut line and Jyoti Randhawa (77-75) at Oakland County Club where just one man was under-par after 36 holes.

Jeev dropped four shots between the 13th and 18th and had a disappointing finish with bogeys on seventh and his closing hole of the day, the ninth.

The Asian fight, despite K.J. Choi of Korea (78-73) and Vijay Singh of Fiji (76-76) missing the cut, stayed strong. Korea’s Charlie Wi, an American citizen now, moved into contention when he produced his second straight even-par 70 to lie in a tie for second place Friday.

Jeev had a rough first nine. He opened with a bogey on tenth but quickly moved to three-under for the tournament with birdies on 11th and 12th. But then he had four bogeys in a space of six holes.

A birdie on the sixth after five pars from first helped soothe the nerves but he then dropped shots on seventh that put him at two-over 142.

Playing with a strained tendon in his right ankle and against doctor’s advice, Jeev admitted that his foot was not too good, but he still hoped to hang in there. That’s what he did Friday with three birdies and seven bogeys.

“After my drive on my 10th hole, I tried to hit a big one and the pain kind of came back. I will ice it and take it from there,” he said.

“It was tough out there. I let it go on the back nine; that was my front nine. I’m three shots off the lead right now and we’ve got two more days.”

Jeev called the conditions, which were rather windy, as one of the toughest he had played. “The conditions are pretty similar to Oakmont (US Open in 2007). I like playing on tough courses.”

Randhawa did well to keep himself at one-over for his first nine, the backstretch of the course. He was eight-over for the tournament with a chance of making the cut. But he dropped shots on first, second, fourth and ninth and dropped out.

Chopra, who was three-over for the front nine with three bogeys and one birdie, was seven-over for the tournament at the turn. But double bogeys on the 11th and 16th and just one birdie on 14th ended his hopes.

Wi, a multiple winner on the Asian Tour, nailed three birdies against a bogey and a double bogey for a 140 total.

Amongst other Asian Tour players, New Zealand’s Mark Brown, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, improved with a 69 and was joint 35th alongside Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng (70).

Friday’s scoring average was 74.845, nearly five strokes over par, as the 36-hole cut came at 8-over 148, with 73 players staying on for the weekend. That lot included three-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who is just four off the mark at three-over.

Meanwhile England’s Justin Rose boosted his Ryder Cup chances as he moved to within a shot of the lead after round two.

Sergio Garcia (69-73) hit the halfway point three shots off the lead, despite a four-putt for a double bogey. Rose shot a three-under par 67 to challenge overnight leader Holmes.

However Scot Colin Montgomerie matched his worst round in a major carding a 14-over 84,
to miss the cut.

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