Augusta, Georgia, April 13: A gutsy Jeev Milkha Singh fought back from a disastrous opening 10 holes to sign off his Masters campaign with a three-over-par 75 and post his best Major result on Sunday. Jeev totaled four over 292 for the tournament and finished twelve strokes adrift of the eventual winner Trevor Immelman of South Africa. Immelman won the green jacket as he had a tournament total of eight under 280. Tiger Woods finished three strokes behind Immelman to be second.
Jeev was six-over-par on a windswept day at Augusta National Golf Club before showing steely resolve to hit four brilliant birdies over a five-hole stretch to salvage his round on a day when only four players broke par.Singh, a member of the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), completed the year’s opening Major with a four-day total of four-over-par 292, which earned him in a creditable equal 25th position. His previous best finish at a Major was tied 36th in the US Open last year.
“I’m really disappointed. I came back pretty strongly at the back nine and left a few out there. I tried but I made too many mistakes on the front nine. My management wasn’t up to the mark. I was pushing myself too much and getting result orientated and I paid the price,” said Singh, who finished tied 37th in his Masters debut last year.
“I was trying shots which I shouldn’t have. On the first and ninth holes I should have just made sure I got the ball up on the green and I didn’t. It was poor management. I’m a little disappointed with the way I finished as I wanted the top-16 (to earn a return trip to next year’s Masters). Hopefully I can learn from this and come back next year.”
Singh’s outward nine 41 was a misadventure. With winds howling on a chilly day, he suffered double bogeys on the first and ninth holes following miscalculated shots and dropped further bogeys on the third and fifth holes against a lone birdie on the second.When the Indian bogeyed the 10th following another errant approach from the middle of the fairway, he was staring at a big number for the round. However, a birdie on the par five 13th hole sparked a fight back.
Singh then enjoyed a Masters moment on 14 when he spun his wedge shot to within inches for a tap-in birdie while playing partner Nick Watney sensationally holed out for an eagle. The Indian converted a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole and trickled in his fifth birdie of the round from 12 feet on the 17th, only to drop a bogey on the last after a blocked drive clipped a tree and missing a six foot par save.
“After 10, I said I had nothing to lose. That was the attitude and I came back strongly. The last hole left a sour taste in the mouth. But the 14th was fantastic, it was a great feeling. That hole has always got me and I got it today,” said Singh.
Singh, who has two runner-up finishes on the Asian Tour this season, will take next week off before heading to Shanghai for the BMW Asian Open. He will also play an event in Japan before returning to Europe with the aim of working his way back into the world’s top-50.
“You learn a lot every time you play here. I’m mentally tired. Every hole takes a lot out of you. I’m taking the week off to refresh myself and start all over again,” said Singh, who is presently ranked 83rd in the world.
“I love this course. You have to be sharp. It keeps you going. It doesn’t let you give up because if you do, you’re done. You have to make sure that you keep trying and it pays. Sometimes, if you try funky shots, you pay for it. “I will go back to Asia before returning to Europe. I want to try to move back into the top-50 in the world and try to get back here for the US Open (in June).”