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Sunday, November 16, 2008

India's Jeev Milka Singh pips big names in Singapore

India's Jeev Milka Singh outplayed major winners Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els to win the Singapore Open with a final round 69.

Singh finished one stroke clear of the pair with a seven-under-par total of 277 at the Sentosa Club.

A double bogey at 16 cost Harrington and both he and Els missed birdie putts at the last to miss out on a play-off.

Harrington carded a 70, Els had a 71 and Rory McIlroy and Australia's David Gleeson shared fourth place after 69s.

Thailand's Chapchai Nirat headed the field by three at the start of the final round but his hopes faded with a series of dropped shots as he struggled to a 78.

And it was 36-year-old Singh, also a winner in Europe and Japan this year, who seized the initiative with three birdies on the front nine.

He took the outright lead with a five-foot birdie at 11, only to fall back into a tie with Harrington when he missed from 10 feet for his par two holes later.

But the Irishman was out of luck at 16 where his pitch landed eight feet from the flag but ran off the green into the water and he could do no better than a double bogey.

Singh dropped a shot at the same hole, but pars at the last two were enough as both Harrington, after a magnificent fairway wood to five feet, and Els saw their birdie attempts fail to drop.

"I couldn't have asked for better. I'm a very fortunate man to win," said Singh.

"That was a good effort out there by Ernie and Padraig but I think that the golfing gods were on my side so I'm breathing much better now."

Harrington was left to reflect on his unlucky breaks, but insisted he had no complaints about a year which saw him win both the Open Championship and USPGA title.

"I hit a lovely shot into 16 that resulted in a double bogey and a lovely shot at the last that was about six inches away from being a short putt for eagle , but that's the way golf goes," he commented.

"I holed the right putts at the right time this year and I may not feel good about this for a few hours but I am still delighted with my year."

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