Jeev braves wind, stays at top of European Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> High scores littered a wind-swept day but Jeev Milkha Singh gamely hung on for a round of one-under 71 at the European Open golf tournament.

Updated: May 31, 2009 07:59 IST
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High scores littered a wind-swept day but Jeev Milkha Singh gamely hung on for a round of one-under 71 which was good enough to remain at the top after the penultimate round of the European Open golf tournament here.

Jeev was joined by Frenchman Christian Cevaer at the top with a three-day total of nine-under 207, three shots clear of the chasing pack comprising Rory McIlroy, Alvaro Quiros and Christian Wood.

Shiv Kapur (216) and Jyoti Randhawa (218), however, were not equally lucky and both returned their worst card of the week -- 75 and 79 -- to lie tied 24th and tied 47th, respectively.

Jeev too looked in trouble in the earlier holes. Thanks to five bogeys and a couple of birdies, Jeev in fact approached the 13th hole at three-over before he reeled off a birdie hat-trick to go even-par and then picked up one more stroke on the 17th to sign off with a sub-par card, no mean achievement in itself.

"I just got aggressive," Jeev later said.

"I took the gamble on the 14th hole. They moved the tee up, it was very tempting. So I went for it and I birdied it. After that, I made a good birdie putt on 15, and then I birdied 16, hit a great shot into 17, birdied that. I think a finish like that doesn't happen too often, but I'll take it," an elated Jeev later said.

Before the round, Jeev also spoke on how golf's elevation as an Olympic sport could trigger the game's popularity in India.

"Golf not being an Olympic sport we have not been getting any funding from the government," he said.

"Hopefully in October it does and I think what happens after that is the government is going to allocate land in each and every city to have a public driving range so that a normal human being can go there and try a hand at it.

"That's when it's going to be really big in our country. It's the fastest-growing sport in our country, but it's the only way this game is going to get famous and close to cricket," Jeev said.

"Our population is more than a billion and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of talent out there.

"I don't think there's a public driving range in our country and there's only one public golf course right now. Everything is private," he rued.

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