Even par Jeev in line for Masters return ticket

April 13th, 2008 - 11:17 am ICT by admin  

Georgia (US), April 12 (IANS) The wet and chilly day at the Augusta National day did not stop Jeev Milkha Singh from moving into a position that will not only justify the Masters invite extended to him but could also earn a return next year. The Indian star, who made the cut for the second year in a row, shot a fighting even par round to stay at one-over for the tournament, as he was placed 23rd after 54 holes.

Jeev, the 2006 Asian Tour’s number one, fired three birdies against an equal number of bogeys for a three-day total of one-over-par 217.

Jeev was 12 shots behind the leader, South African Trevor Immelman, who is bidding to join the select few as start-to-finish leaders. Immelman, who shot a third straight round in 60s had a 69 and is two ahead of Brandt Snedekar (70).

Tiger Woods, winner of four Masters Green Jackets, ensured he was still in the fight with a four-under 68 that gave him a fifth place, but six shots adrift of Immelman.

Steve Flesch (69) was third at eight-under 208 and Paul Casey (69) was fourth and seven-under.

With the top-16 finishers and ties guaranteed of a return trip to Augusta National next year, Jeev is hoping to finish the final round in red numbers.

“If I can shoot in the red tomorrow, I hope it gets me in the top-16. That would be great if I can do that,” said Jeev.

Playing alongside reigning US Open champion Angel Cabrera, Jeev continued to show his liking for the demanding Augusta National layout with another masterful performance and outscored his playing partner by one.

Jeev turned in 35 with birdies on the second and seventh holes, sinking putts from eight and 20 feet respectively, against a dropped shot on the fourth.

However, he was disappointed to come home in one-over with bogeys on the 11th and 14th spoiling his card. Jeev missed several birdie chances on the lightning quick greens.

“It could have been a better round. I had a few birdie chances out there and let them go. I put myself in a good position after the 13th where I was one under. Then I hit a good drive on 14 and hit a bad iron shot. That bogey was not needed,” he said.

“I’m not getting any momentum. I make a birdie and then I’m letting it go. I can only try and I just feel I have to stay patient out there and be smart and aggressive in a way too.

“I expected under par today, I was feeling good but 72 is not bad. Tomorrow if I can shoot in the red, I’ll be happy. I want to finish under par here.”

With each passing round at Augusta National, Jeev said he was coming to grips with the course.

“Last year I learnt a lot. I feel I can manage myself really well on the course. It suits my game and sets up for me. You have to be patient and have good management.

“It’s mentally more tiring than physically. You have to be sharp all the time. You get bad breaks and you can lose it. If you lose it, it’ll bite you. It takes quite a bit out of you. It’s my favourite major and hopefully I can improve on this and come back.”

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