/ 16 November 2008

Singh grabs Singapore Open victory

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh won a nail-biting Singapore Open on Sunday after Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els missed putts to take the $5-million event to a play-off.

Singh, who virtually sealed the Asian order of merit title with the win, started the day five shots behind leader Chapchai Nirat of Thailand but three birdies on the front nine helped him to the top of the leaderboard at seven-under par.

Three-times major winner Harrington looked certain to force a play-off after a stunning fairway wood gave him the chance of birdie at the last, but the Irishman’s five-foot putt leaked across the face of the hole.

”I couldn’t have asked for better,” the 36-year-old Singh said in a television interview. ”I’m a very fortunate man to win. The golfing gods were on my side.”

Els moved within a shot of leader Singh with a birdie at the 16th, but a poor tee-shot on 18 left him with too much to do and the South African’s birdie putt came up just short.

Chapchai, who fired a spectacular eagle on the par-four 11th to pull two shots clear of the field on Saturday before fading light forced the players off the course, started the final round at 10-under-par, three ahead of local hope Lam Chih Bing.

However, his challenge crumbled with a succession of bogeys and the stocky Thai slumped to a seven-over par 78 for the final round.

World number three Phil Mickelson also had a disappointing fourth round, which included an ugly triple-bogey eight, and finished the tournament six shots behind the winner, while Singapore’s Lam carded a shocking 79.

Singh takes home a winner’s cheque for $792 500. – Reuters