Jeev leaves with happy Open memories, targets world top-50 next

Lytham St Annes: Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh signed off from The Open Championship with a three-over-par 73 on Sunday, and was ready to finally celebrate his Scottish Open win and recharge his batteries for a bid to return into the world’s top-50.

Singh, a two-time Asian Tour number one, was disappointed he failed to make an impact at Royal Lytham and St Annes although he and compatriot Anirban Lahiri wrote a small slice of history by becoming the first two Indians to feature in the weekend rounds of a Major.

The 40-year-old has been on the road for five weeks, which was highlighted by his play-off triumph in Scotland last Sunday. It moved him up to 87th in the world and with the top-50 very much in his sights now which will earn him a return to The Masters Tournament next April.

“I was really glad to be here. I enjoyed every bit of it. I expected better results than the way it has ended up. I fought hard,” said Singh.

“My goal was to finish under par but I fell short. Mentally I’m tired and I’ll rest next week and start again at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (in August). Time to celebrate (the Scottish win). We’ll have a few parties at home.”

With a string of big events coming up until the end of the season, including those on the Asian Tour, Singh believes he has every chance of raking up world ranking points to build on his recent return to winning form.

One of Singh’s favourite clothing apparel is his Masters Tournament belt, which he used all week at Royal Lytham and St Annes. It looked worn out but Singh is hopeful he can return to Augusta National to buy a new one after featuring in the prestigious tournament from 2007 to 2009.

“Next year, I need a new belt,” he said laughing. “I have loved every bit of the Masters. It’s my favourite Major championship and I’m hoping to get back there,” said Singh, whose best finish at the Masters was tied 25th in 2008.

“My goal is to be in the top-50 by the end of the year. I’ve got big events, WGC, events coming up, I’ve got a very good chance,” he said.

Singh completed a personal milestone this week by making the halfway cut which meant that he has now played in four rounds of all the Majors. He hopes to return to The Open next year and put on a better showing.

“You have to hit the ball well and stay patient. I was patient all the time. You’ve got to be on top of the game to be under par and stay away from the bunkers. What I take from here is that this I my first Open where I played four rounds,” said Singh.