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Jeev leaps to top spot on UBS Order of Merit

Written by: Staff
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Beijing, Apr 16 (UNI) Jeev Milkha Singh's emotional victory at the 1.8 million dollar Volvo China Open today not just ended his seven-year title drought but also catapulted him to the top of the Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit with his career earnings now standing at 373,101 dollars.

Jeev became the second Indian to win a European Tour-sanctioned event after carding a a final round of two-under-par 70 at the Beijing Honghua International Golf Club for a 10-under par winning total of 278.

He took home a prize money of 3,00,000 dollars, which surpassed his earnings of the past three years and took him to the top of the Order of Merit.

The 34-year-old remained a shot clear of Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, with England's David Lynn, the third round leader, a further shot adrift in third.

It was also the biggest career victory yet for Jeev.

Korean Charlie Wi with 286,711 dollars and Australian Andrew Buckle with 280,212 dollars were second and third respectively on the list.

Jeev was the first Indian golfer to qualify for the European Tour in 1997 and his courageous final day performance in the Chinese capital ensured he once again wrote his name in the history books and joined Arjun Atwal as a winner on the European Tour.

''This is fantastic,'' he said after earning 300,000 dollars with his fifth Asian Tour title.

''When I was injured, I didn't know if I was going to come back in the sport. When I came back I wasn't thinking the same way. I was struggling, I was putting pressure on myself and I was getting down.

And after that, you don't think right. I started working hard and the wrist became better and things started looking better for me.

I've just won and it's one of the best feelings,'' Jeev added.

''I just can't explain this. It's like a dream come true. I've always tried hard to win and today, I just went in there with reverse psychology thinking that if it doesn't happen, never mind. I just wanted to give it my best shot. And it worked out perfect for me. I'm really excited and happy the way it worked out,'' an excited Jeev, who adm,itted coming to the course with zero expectation said.

Singh stayed two clear of the field heading to the 18th hole, the most difficult during the week, and he played it safe.

''My composure was good. Coming into 18, I saw Gonzalo was 10 under and he had bogeyed the 18th. I was on the leftside on the fairway in the rough and I decided that I wasn't going to be a hero and go for the flag and was going to play safe. If I made bogey, I'd still win the tournament,'' he said.

Jeev also became the third Asian, after Korea's Charlie Wi and Singaporean Mardan Mamat, to taste success in a co-sanctioned event this season.

Compatriots Shiv Kapur, who failed to make the cut here was 10th with 114,117 dollars, Gaurav Ghei stood at 17th with 67,164 dollars and Amandeep Johl was 20th after taking his earnings to 60,169.

The UBS Order of Merit: 1. Jeev Milkha Singh (IND ) 373,101 dollars, 2. Charlie Wi (KOR) 286,711 dollars, 3. Andrew Buckle (AUS) 280,212 dollars, 4.

Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 217,222 dollars, 5. Simon Dyson (ENG) 204,825 dollars, 6. Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 177,777 dollars, 7. Mardan Mamat (SIN) 174,382 dollars, 8. Tadahiro Takayama (JPN) 173,460 dollars, 9. Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 141,788 dollars, 10. Shiv Kapur (IND) 114,117 dollars, 11. Jarrod Lyle (AUS) 114,115 dollars, 12. Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 106,324 dollars, 13. Scott Strange (AUS) 103,842 dollars, 14. Kiyoshi Miyazato (JPN) 86,730 dollars, 15. Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 72,875 dollars, 16. Prom Meesawat (THA) 68,175 dollars, 17. Gaurav Ghei (IND) 67,164 dollars, 18. Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 63,580 dollars, 19. Unho Park (AUS) 62,777 dollars, 20. Amandeep Johl (IND) 60,169 dollars.

UNI XC PM YA GC1800

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