When the Asian team lost to Europe in the Royal Trophy last month,Jeev Milkha Singh had said he wanted to do better in the match play format. On Wednesday,the Chandigarh pro made a confident start in the World Match Play Championship at Marana in Arizona as he scored a 3&1 win over world number nine Padraig Harrington in the first round.
During the Royal Trophy,I was talking to a lot of my team mates about playing well in the match play format. Jyoti (Randhawa) and I have played in the format in World Cup as well as a couple of other tournaments. Today was a day when I was able to match my potential in this format and I am happy to make a fine start, Jeev told The Indian Express.
Harrington went one-up after three holes before a steady display by the Indian pro saw him taking the lead. Singh won the 13th and 14th holes and closed out the match with a birdie on the penultimate hole. Looking back,however,he rated winning the fifth hole as the turning point of the game.
Padraig was playing superb at the start. But my focus was to play consistently and his bogey at the fifth hole set things up for me. Its very important to take the lead in such formats and I was lucky that I grabbed it back. He is a very tough player, said Jeev.
Its his third appearance at the premier match play tournament and its the first time that he has made the second round. Singh will face Matt Kuchar in the second round,who defeated Anthony Kim. Matt has been in fine form and he showed that against Kim. I love playing in the US and I am hoping to do better here this time, said Jeev.
Top seed Stricker knocked out
Ross McGowan of England rolled in a 30-foot par putt on the 19th hole to beat Steve Stricker,only the second time in the Match Play Championship that the No.1 seed was beaten in the opening round. The No.1 seed became the first top seed since Tiger Woods in 2002 to lose in the first round.
Lee Westwood controlled his match against fellow Englishman Chris Wood,Jim Furyk went 17 holes before beating Ryder Cup team mate Scott Verplank. Ryo Ishikawa made a sensational debut by winning the last three holes for a 2-up victory over Michael Sim of Australia.
Even though Italys Edoardo Molinari built a 4-up lead early on Stewart Cink,the British Open champion played what he called the best nine holes of his career for a 2-up victory. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia didnt work up much of a sweat. He built an early lead and then poured it on against Alexander Noren of Sweden,winning 7 and 5.
Woods to come out of hiding
Tiger Woods will make a public statement on Friday about his playing future. The world number one has been in hiding since the tawdry revelations about his personal life erupted after a minor car accident outside his Florida home in November. Woods,a 14-time major champion who is believed to be the wealthiest sports personality on the planet,will address a small gathering of reporters at 1600 GMT on Friday,his manager said. Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future and he plans to apologise for his behaviour, said Mark Steinberg. While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife,he also recognises that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him. He wants to begin the process of making amends and thats what hes going to discuss. Reuters