Refreshed Jeev and Jyoti back in the fray

April 23rd, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by admin  

Shanghai, April 23 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh returns to China in quest for his first victory in more than 16 months as he tees up at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in the BMW Asian Open on Thursday. The 36-year-old Jeev, who was Asian Tour No. 1 in 2006, has been agonisingly close to victories in this period, but has not quite closed on them. Jeev, who made the cut at his second successive Masters two weeks ago, has been second at the Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open where he lost with a bogey and was then beaten again in a play-off at the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea. He did finish tied 25th at the Masters and then took a week off.

“I know I am playing well. It is just that I am getting a little anxious about results at time,” said Jeev, who in 2006 won four titles but before that had gone winless for seven years. “I know it will come and I am hitting the ball well.”

“I must follow my routine for every shot and if I can keep that going it will happen.”

There will be seven other Indians, including Jyoti Randhawa, who played nine weeks in a row at the start of the year and then decided to take a big break. “Fresh after a long lay-off I am raring to go,” said Randhawa, who has had a string of top-10 finishes this season, including a second at SAIL Open.

Other Indians are S.S.P. Chowrasia, winner of the Emaar MGF Indian Masters, Shiv Kapur, who was fifth at Johnnie Walker Classic, Gaurav Ghei, who had a top-10 at the Emaar MGF Indian Masters, Rahil Gangjee, Amandeep Johl and Digvijay Singh, who with good results finds himself on the top of re-ranking list to earn a berth in this joint-sanctioned event.

The Indians have all been put in marquee groups as Jeev plays with last week’s winner in Volvo China Open at Beijing, Damien McGrane and David Howell, who won the HSBC Shanghai ahead of Tiger Woods at the same course two years ago. Randhawa has been paired with defending champion Raphael Jacequelin and Thomas Bjorn, while Shiv Kapur goes out with current Asian Tour No. 1 Mark Brown and former British Open champion Paul Lawrie.

The field is very strong with Dubai-based Swede Henrik Stenson, who was second at both at Abu Dhabi and Qatar and then sixth in Dubai and also a semi-finalist in the WGC-Accenture Match Play. He was also tied 17th in the Masters Tournament earlier this month and is the highest ranked player in this week’s field.

Asian Tour No. 1 in 2007 Liang Wen-Chong, South African Retief Goosen, a two-time Major winner, the big-hitting Australian Scott Hend, who at the BMW Asian Open last year was tied third.

The field also has the charismatic 53-year-old former world number Greg Norman, who is making a rare appearance in Asia.

Since the event’s inauguration in 2001, no Asian player has won the prestigious title.

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