Ailing Jeev shoots brilliant 64, moves into shared lead


Jeju (South Korea) : Overcoming a ligament injury and a bout of flu, Jeev Milkha Singh shot a brilliant eight-under 64 to take a share of the lead at the end of the third round in Ballantine’s Championship here Saturday.

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Asian Tour No. 1 in 2006, Jeev raised visions of a third Indian victory in a co-sanctioned event in six weeks with his 18-under and shares the lead with Graeme McDowell (66), who was left rueing his luck at the par-four 18th when he overshot the green and went out of bounds. McDowell was two shots clear before he dropped on the last hole.

The pair will start the final round of the €2 million (US$2.9 million) showpiece on Sunday four shots clear of Ireland’s Paul McGinley.

Jeev, who had a freak buggy accident on the course in Malaysia last week, was still feeling the after effects. He also had flu, plus sore feet from the hills of Jeju. “I took a lot of painkillers, but it was still very painful. I tried to forget but every now and then, the pain would come back,” said Jeev, who was pleased with his superb round.

“Sometimes when you are not at your physical best you play better golf because you play shot by shot,” added Jeev.

Jyoti Randhawa shot a 70 and stayed at overnight 19th place at six-under 210, while Gaurav Ghei (74) was lying tied 60th. In the morning, Shiv Kapur, playing his remaining holes missed the cut by three shots. He shot a 73 and finished at three-over for two rounds. The cut came at even par.

Jeev and McDowell, playing in last group, seemed to be drawing inspiration from each other. Jeev’s 64 matched the course record set by McDowell on Friday at the newly renovated Pinx.

“We brought out the best in each other,” said the Indian, who had nine birdies – including five in a row from No.7 – against a lone bogey.

“He made a lot of birdies at the start and I came back and also made a few. It was a good game out there today and I think both of us took advantage of the weather, which was perfect,” Jeev said.

McDowell said: “I was trying to cut a little five iron in there and double crossed it, made six. But the way I look at it, I always knew Jeev and I were going to have a little bit of a tussle tomorrow at some point,”

“So whether I’m one or two shots ahead or all square with him, I know I’m going to have to play tomorrow to win. It doesn’t change my outlook.”

While Jeev started sedately with three pars, McDowell birdied the first two holes and eagled the fourth, which only Jeev birdied. McDowell, two ahead overnight, was suddenly five ahead.

Over the next five holes, they were matching each other stroke for stroke. McDowell birdied eighth and ninth, but Jeev went better with three birdies from seventh to ninth and cut the lead to four by the turn.

On the back nine, Jeev had five birdies against one bogey as he peppered the flags and played superbly, despite pain on his right foot. McDowell meanwhile birdied 12th and 16th and was still leading by two. Then the Northern Irish golfer double bogeyed the last hole.

The duo was four shots clear of third placed Paul McGinley (67).

Johan Edfors (69) who was in the lead group fell to fourth at 13-under while British Open champion Padraig Harrington (68) and Kane Webber (65) were tied for fifth at 12-under.

K.J.CHoi (69) was way behind in tied 17th at seven-under 209.