Jeev Milkha Singh gets invitation to participate in 2008 Masters

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Mumbai, Jan 22 (UNI) Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) member Jeev Milkha Singh will once again commpete on the hallowed turf of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Jeev, who made his debut at The Masters in 2007, received a special invitation to participate in the 2008 Masters tournament.

He received the invitation along with two other Asian Tour stars Liang Wen-chong (UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit winner for 2007) and Prayad Marksaeng, a release issued here today stated.

Singh made history last year when he became the first Indian to qualify for the Masters after breaking into the world's top-50. He enjoyed a memorable debut at the event by finishing tied 37th. Interestingly, he also led the field for a very brief spell.

The Chandigarh-based golfer was surprised to receive a return trip to the Masters as he had slipped to 81st in the world. The 2006 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner expressed his delight after receiving the special invitation to compete in the year's first Major. ''I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year,'' said Singh, who enjoyed a stunning 2006 season with four victories globally. He added, ''I was planning to work my way back into the world's top-50 to qualify again.'' ''It's a dream come true as the Masters is my favourite championship. I'm going to try and improve from last year's finish as I enjoyed playing at Augusta National. Second time around, I'm still as excited going to the Masters,'' said Singh.

He said it was rewarding to see three Asian Tour members being invited to the Masters. ''I want to thank the Masters committee for extending the invitations to the Asian competitors. I believe it is a great recognition for us.'' The invitation to The Masters is the perfect reward for Jeev's perseverance. After notching up four victories in 2006, the flag-bearer of Indian golf was not able to repeat his dream run in 2007. However, he did come up with some very impressive performances.

In the European Tour he had two tied 12th finishes at the BMW PGA Championship and Open de France ALSTOM and a tied 16th at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. Jeev also did not fare too badly at the Asian Tour's Hero Honda Indian Open, finishing tied 13th. He rounded off his year in style with two top-10s (tied 3rd at the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup and tied 7th at Dunlop Phoenix) on the Japan Golf Tour, the release added.

The 2008 Masters now provides Jeev the ideal opportunity to stamp his authority on the global stage. His participation at golf's showpiece event will also go a long way in raising the profile of Indian professional golf, the release added.

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