Late decision to play in Austria paid off, says Jeev


Vienna : Jeev Milkha Singh very nearly gave a miss to Bank Austria Golf Open which he won here Sunday. His excellent form, which has seen him finish runner-up twice this season coupled with his good starts in past few weeks forced Jeev to take a late decision to tee up at the Fontana Golf Club.

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“I came in late and then decided only on Tuesday to play. I did not get a practice round because the Pro-Am was rained off,” said Jeev after his third career win on the European Tour win.

Jeev shot an even par 71 with 18 consecutive pars to finish at 15-under 198 and one shot clear off Simon Wakefield to win the Austrian Open. He had rounds of 64 and 63 in first two rounds of the tournament that was cut short to three rounds because of first day being rained off.

“I was honestly contemplating whether or not to play this week. If I had gotten into the US Open I was not going to play here. It is amazing how things work out. I got here on Tuesday and I decided to play. I came here and I won,” said a joyous Jeev, who has been talking about knocking at victory doors and waiting it to open this season.

A new set of clubs got only a couple of weeks ago, a new sponsor Panceltica, signed only a couple of weeks back and a decision to play at the last moment summed up Jeev’s preparation this week. It also meant a caddie choice at the last moment after his usual caddie, Max, did not come when Jeev decided to skip the week.

Janet Squire, who has been on the bag for him for Augusta National and Houston Open in US, happened to be in Vienna and Jeev decided to have her on the bag for the week.

“Janet has been great. She has been a great person on and off the course and helped me a lot. She was with me at the Augusta National and Houston Open and this is the third week together,” said Jeev of his caddie.

“I told Max I was not going to play, so Janet was here and she was on the bag, but Max will be back with me for the next tournament in Munich,” added Jeev.

“A win under your belt, that’s what you play for. The more you have, the more satisfied you feel and the more confident you get. That’s what I am feeling right now and I am very fortunate for what happened to me with 18 pars,” said Jeev.

“I have not done it before. But my coach did tell me once that I shot 18 pars to win a college tournament in America. Honestly I do not remember that, but I am glad I did that today,” he added.

Talking of the last hole, when Wakefield birdied and came closer. Jeev admitted to the pressure and as it turned the screw on him.

“Simon was very strong. He made a great two putts. I tried to hit the drive hard and pulled it. My lay-up was not as good I wanted. I hit it on the green and I knew if Simon made it (an eagle) we would go into a play-off. I made a good stroke with the first and then the second, I leaned that putt, but the golfing gods were with me, so I made it,” said Jeev off the last hole, where the par gave him the win, while Wakefield despite the birdie was one short.

“You obviously play to win, but when you look at other things in life, what’s happening to people and friends falling sick or things. You have a take a reality check. It is good up to to a point, but after that there’s more to life.”

“A friend who grew up with me was diagnosed with MS it was really sad news for me as I heard it two weeks ago. He is fighting it and he’s going to be fine,” added Jeev.

But for the time being Jeev will be going back to London to set up his new apartment. “I will be watching the US Open in my new apartment in London and then go to Munich after that,” signed off Jeev.