Jeev misses cut but vows to be back in US Open

June 21st, 2009 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Tiger Woods By V. Krishnaswamy
Bethpage, June 21 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh left Bethpage Black with mixed feelings. He finally got close to the conditions that he would have loved to have had in the first place and played a good second round of 73, but was never really in with a chance of making the cut at the US Open gold.

Jeev’s first round blowout of 78 at the 109th US Open proves costly for him and the ace golfer Saturday admitted learning a few important lessons.

As Jeev made his way back, some other big names like Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els, too, joined him on the sidelines. The rest, including a battling Tiger Woods, ploughed even as the field was led by Ricky Barnes, the 2002 US amateur champion, and once touted as a star on the rise.

Barnes, with a record eight-under 132 for two rounds, led another relatively unknown name, Lucas Glover (133) by one. Curiously, both Barnes and Glover had missed the cut, when it was last held at Bethpage Black in 2002.

As Jeev packed his bags, he said: “I learnt some lessons out here. The most important being that in future I will not tee up if I am not 100 per cent fit. Sure the conditions were bad on Thursday and it put the early starters to a severe disadvantage, but there was also this bit about my muscle injury.

“It did not hinder, but was in the back of mind. I did not go all out with my driver and lost a lot of distance off the tee.”

If it was not a Major, would he have come here? “I don’t think so,” Jeev said. “If it had not been a Major, I would certainly not have been here. Now in hindsight I think, even if it is a Major, I must be 100 per cent. I have played a few of them now (10 in all) and I have decided that from now I must be in perfect shape to be out there for a Major.”

“Be sure I will be back for the US Open and it will be a fully fit me then!”

Jeev said he will take a couple of weeks break from golf.

“I am taking a week or two off. I am not going to touch the clubs for a few days and give my inter-costal muscle a full rest. That’s the only way it will heal. I have half the season left and there is so much more to come and I want to be ready for it all,” Jeev said

“I am skipping Travellers in US and also Munich event in Europe. I will take a call on Open de France, which is a big event, next week. Then I get ready for Scottish and British Opens.”

Meanwhile, the US Open reached the business end, with Ricky Barnes, a former US Amateur champion - 2002, the year Bethpage last hosted US Open - setting a two-round record total of eight-under 132. He was one shot clear of Lucas Glover, another little-fancied player.

Mike Weir, the left-hander from Canada, whose only Major win - the 2003 Masters - came when the first day was washed out, is lying third at six-under 134.

David Duval turned the clock back and was tied for fourth with Peter Hanson, who earned a trip to US Open with a hole-in-one in qualifiers, and Japan’s little known Azuma Yano at 137.

The big names like Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els have fallen by the wayside, while the biggest of all, Tiger Woods is struggling to get into contention. After a first round 74, he was 69 for the second and trying to make up lost ground.

But all those who played in the first wave of Thursday face an uphill task of challenging those who have been blessed with excellent weather on what has been a treacherous Bethpage Black course.

Phil Mickelson, the crowd favourite in New York, is one-under and a good third round could see him make a charge for the Major that he so desperately wants and more so after his wife, Amy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

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