Triumphant Jeev clinches British Open spot

Jeev Milkha Singh on Sunday sparked a double celebration after beating Italian Francesco Molinari in a play-off to win the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and earn a spot at the British Open next week at the Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Jeev, who started the day way back in tied 16th spot, registered a bogey-free five-under 67 and moved into the clubhouse lead. Then he waited for nine more groups to finish, and found himself in a play-off with Molinari.

“This is an amazing win. I waited for more than an hour, maybe longer to see if I was getting into a play-off. (Marc) Warren was playing well and then Molinari, too. I felt I had an outside chance of being in a play-off and after I finished lunch, there it was all of a sudden. I am glad I could pull it off,” said Jeev soon after the win.

“I have been having good rounds but not good tournaments. To have a good tournament you need to put together four good rounds and this week I did that,” said Jeev.

The win was Jeev’s fourth in an European Tour event. His earlier wins were Volvo China in 2006, Volvo Masters of Europe in 2006 and the Austrian Open in 2008.

Jeev’s qualification meant India had even more interest in the British Open as Anirban Lahiri came through International Final Qualifying-Asia and Daniel Chopra, an Indo-Swede made it through a similar qualifier in the United States.

Earlier in the windiest conditions of the week and with some heavy showers during the day, Molinari, overnight leader was caught by Scot Warren, Jeev and Dane Soren Kjeldsen.

In the play-off, Molinari had the honour and drove down the right of the fairway. Jeev, after a long time in the clubhouse went to the left side but the slope helped it forward a bit further. Then Jeev went a little to the right and faced a blind third shot. Molinari was to the left.

After three shots, Molinari was 133 yards away and Jeev was 120 yards to the pin but could see the green. Molinari got his shot to 25 feet but Jeev got it closer to 15 feet and rolled it in to pick up a brilliant birdie and the title, while Molinari never had a chance with a weak putt.

Jeev’s 67 was the best round of the day, alongside Mathew Baldwin’s 67 that got the latter to tied fifth. “Overall, I was very happy with my bogeyfree 67 because the conditions were quite tough out there,” said Jeev.

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