Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Singh beats Wakefield, wins Austria

AFP , VIENNA

Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh watches his ball on the 10th tee of the Austria Open on the Fontana golf course in Oberwalterdorf, Austria, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh posted a final round 71 to pip England’s Simon Wakefield for the weather-hit Austria Open title on Sunday.

Singh posted an astonishing 127 aggregate for the first two rounds of this event shortened to just three rounds after a first day washout, giving him a four-shot overnight lead.

A third and final round of 18 straight pars, equaling Nick Faldo’s feat at the 1987 British Open, was enough to finish ahead of Wakefield by a shot, and giving him a 15-under par total of 198.

“I feel very fortunate to win with 18 pars,” said Singh, who is now in ninth spot in the European Tour Order of Merit.

“Shooting even par on the last day it’s tough to win and Simon put up a great fight. I think the golfing Gods were looking out for me. They did not want a play-off with the bad weather forecast! I didn’t hit my last putt hard enough but it caught the edge of the hole and went in,” he said.

“I had no idea about matching Nick Faldo. I was trying to make birdies but they just weren’t going in. When you have a lead you don’t want to be too aggressive or too defensive, you just play ‘mediocre’ golf and hit fairways and greens,” Singh said.

“It’s great to win, it’s always a feather in your cap. I’ve knocked on the door a few times this season and at last the door has opened for me. I’m pretty excited about that,” he said.

In joint third spot three shots behind the winner on a 12-under-par total were England’s Iain Pyman, Sweden’s Martin Erlandsson, Pelle Edberg and Michael Jonzon, plus Australian Peter Fowler.

Runner up Wakefield was seeking his first European Tour victory but was nevertheless very satisfied with his final round 68 to finish runner-up all on his own.

“The game plan was to just go out and not doing anything stupid to take me out of the tournament early on,” Wakefield said. “But then after the 12th I just changed gear, tried to be a bit more aggressive and it paid off. It’s fantastic.”

“Jeev won in China [in 2006] when I finished fourth, he always seems to beat me by a couple but hopefully in the next few years I can get my revenge,” he said.

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