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Singh Seals Play-Off Win in Scottish Open
16 July 2012
India's Jeev Milkha Singh sealed victory in a play-off against Francesco Molinari to capture the Scottish Open Title. On a decidedly wind swept finally day at Castle Stuart, the Indian took an early club house lead, and then sat back to watch others around him falter. None more so than Scot Marc Warren, who blew a three-shot lead to finish joint third with Swede Alex Noren.
Singh birdied four of his first seven holes, his solid putting a feature, for a round of 67, 17 under par. Overnight leader Francesco Molinari played steadily, coming down the last needing a birdie for victory, but he could only force a play-off with a nine-foot putt. They went back down the eighteenth and Singh holed from 15 feet to seal victory, and a place in next week's Open Championship at Lytham St. Annes.
For Singh, who is no stranger to winning golf trophies, it was the fourth win on the European Tour for a man who, surprisingly, expresses a love of links golf: "I'm looking forward to the Open championship. Coming from India I'm not used to links courses but since coming to Europe I've played a lot of links courses...This has given me a lot of confidence and I can build on that"
Earlier in the day, it had seemed like a different story as local favourite Warren negotiated testing conditions and went to 20 under par, a three shot lead with four holes to play. However, it all fell apart with a double bogey at the sixteenth, followed by further bogeys at the next two. It was heartbreak for the Scot, who led a strong local challenge but stalled on the final day. Compatriots Peter Whiteford and Martin Laird both slipped out of contention with poor final rounds.
It was a day of high winds on the Scottish coast, making Molinari's course record 62 on Thursday seem a long time ago. 20 miles an hour gusts swept across the links, and blew many of the tournament's high profile contenders off course. World number one Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson finished joint 16th after battling the elements in vain. Mickelson had cut short a family holiday to come and get some, by the looks of it, much needed practise before next week's major championship. A frustrating final round of 74 left him off the pace, but he will certainly be glad of such a stern test heading into next week. Attention now turns to the equally tricky climes of Lytham St. Annes.
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