It was icing on the cake for me, gushes Jeev

Indian eyes top-50 finish this season

It was icing on the cake for me, gushes Jeev

Jeev Milkha Singh literally caught the last train to the Royal Lytham and St Anne’s after booking a berth to The Open with a dramatic play-off victory at the Scottish Open.

The 40-year-old, a former top-50 player, finished his flawless round of 67 to become the clubhouse leader and then waited for more than an hour tucking into his favourite chocolate cake and sipping tea to suddenly find himself in the play-off with Francesco Molinari at Castle Stuart.

Even Jeev did not expect anything dramatic as Marc Warren, three ahead at one stage, seemed to be running away.

“Frankly, I think I never expected myself to be in a play-off. I was just enjoying a cup of tea and some chocolate cake. I said ‘it’s an hour I’ve got, my flight is at 8.30 pm out of Aberdeen.’ I thought I would see the finish and then leave for the airport,” he explained.

“As the chocolate cake and tea were going down, it got very exciting on the golf course and I was fortunate to get into a play-off. (In the play-off) I left myself a good birdie chance.

“Earlier in the last hole (18th of regulation) I had a similar putt but I left it short. I said (to myself), you left that short, but this one, don’t. Give yourself a chance. I hit a good putt, and it went in,” he added.

It was a win that brought Jeev a huge bag of goodies, none better than a berth into the British Open beginning on Thursday at the Royal Lytham and St Annes. It was virtually the last chance for anyone to qualify excepting the reserves moving up due to withdrawals.

Jeev’s fourth win on European Tour made him the most successful Indian in Europe and also moved him inside top-15 on the Tour, making it easier for him to make the season-ending Race to Dubai event.

The world ranking also pushed him inside top-90 and he could by the end of the year realistically look at getting into top-50, which could see him return to the coveted Masters next April.

Jeev also gained a berth into the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions besides the 2013 Volvo Golf Champions.

Even before he went into the play-off the ever-vigilant Jeev realised he had made the Open as the top-finisher in top-5 not otherwise qualified.

So, before getting to the 18th tee for the play-off, he called his management company to book him accommodation at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s.

“Oh that was a nice feeling,” said Jeev, who minutes later won the title itself in the play-off. “Initially, after the round I thought I will just go home. I’ve got a place in London. After that I was going to take a flight back to India tomorrow and spend time with the family. But things changed after I got into a play-off.

“I knew I was going to be in The Open Championship. So I had to call up my management company, and told them I think I need accommodation for next week. It’s all the icing on the cake. I think the chocolate cake was fantastic. I think I have to have it every single time I finish my round, and a cup of tea (laughing),” he said.

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