Monday, June 9, 2008

Jeev Milkha Singh Wins Austrian Open Golf title

India's Jeev Milkha Singh took a leaf out of Nick Faldo's Open-winning book when he hit 18 pars in the final round at Fontana to win the Austrian Open title.

Faldo ran in 18 successive pars at Muirfield in 1987 to claim his first major title, and Singh repeated the feat for a round of 71 and a three-round total of 15 under to hold off Englishman Simon Wakefield by a stroke.

A closing 71 for a 15-under 198 three-round total in the weather-shortened event left Singh one shot better than Britain's Simon Wakefield.

Wakefield, Singh's nearest challenger overnight, began the final round four off the lead in the tournament reduced to 54 holes because of Thursday's washout.

The Englishman exerted pressure on playing-partner Singh by birdieing three of the last four holes but came up a stroke shy of forcing a playoff.

Earlier, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who defeated Singh in a playoff for the Ballantines Championship in March, looked like being the Indian professional's threat again.

But after closing to within two strokes, McDowell bogeyed the last two holes to slip out of the winning picture on 202.

Dane Soren Hansen also got to within two strokes of Singh but double-bogeyed the last to also drift to 202.

Singh collected $337,000 in adding to his prestigious 2006 Volvo Masters title and China Open that year but admitted he may have been a little lucky to do so with Sunday's par finish.

"I had no idea about Nick Faldo and I was trying to make birdies but they just wouldn't go in," the winner said. "I think I'm fortunate to win shooting 18 pars. Simon put up a great fight."

"My game-plan was to not do anything silly," he said, "but after the 12th I decided to be a bit more aggressive."

Singh, who won the Volvo Masters and China Open in 2006, has finished second twice this year.
Victory for the Indian came after two second places this season. Singh noted: "I've knocked on the door a few times and at last it opened."

1 JM Singh Ind 71 -15 18
2 Wakefield Eng 68 -14 18
3 Erlandsson Swe 65 -12 18
3 Jonzon Swe 67 -12 18
3 Fowler Aus 69 -12 18
3 Edberg Swe 65 -12 18
3 Pyman Eng 65 -12 18
8 S Hansen Den 69 -11 18
8 McDowell NI 68 -11 18
8 Rock Eng 65 -11 18
8 Delamontagne Fra 65 -11 18
8 Sm Little Eng 67 -11 18
13 Waring Eng 67 -10 18
13 Brown US 71 -10 18
13 F Molinari Ita 68 -10 18
13 Sullivan Wal 65 -10 18
13 Jeppesen Swe 65 -10 18
13 Jaidee Tha 64 -10 18
19 Bland Eng 71 -9 18
19 Canonica Ita 70 -9 18

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