Jeev Mikha Singh believes intelligence and imagination are the key to playing good links golf. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Indian Summer

Singh holds nerve to capture Scottish Open title in tense play-off

The challenge of Phil Mickelson never appeared while Francesco Molinari went from the sublime to the merely good.

JEEV MIKHA SINGH of India is the 2012 Scottish Open champion after he birdied the extra play-off hole at Stuart’s Castle in Aberdeen.

The 40-year-old dropped a superb birdie putt to force Francesco Molinari, his play-off opponent, to drain a 25-foot effort to keep the competition going.

The Italian’s putt never came close and Singh had a win that looked very unlikely just an hour earlier.

While Molinari, leader over the first three rounds, will be disappointed not to have closed out the tournament with a better closing round, Marc Warren will be inconsolable.

The Scot was three clear with six to play but dropped four shots in three holes down the back straight to fall away badly.

Solid Scottish start

The opening holes on the front and back nines have been generous scoring holes throughout the championship and it proved so for Warren as he recorded birdies on the first and second.

The Scot followed that up with a string of solid pars and an assured putting touch on a breezy, arduous day for round building.

He missed a chance to join Molinari at the top of the leaderboard on the Par 5 sixth but more than made up for it when he emerged after the turn to notch three successive birdies.

His fifth birdie of the day, etched in after the 12th saw him take the lead for the first time in the four day event.

Molinari, from a seemingly imperious position, now had to rediscover the amazing play that served him so well in rounds one and three.

However, the pressure had a negative affect on his game as he could only manage at six at the 12th to bogey after some poor approach play.

Showing some fight

The Italian Ryder Cup star bounced back well on the very next hole to birdie and get with two of Warren, who drove wildly to the left on 15 and plonked his ball amid the spectators.

The Scot then three-putted to double bogey and dropped two more shots on the following holes. It was a spectacular collapse.

Jeev Mikha Singh, with his closing round of 67, suddenly found himself tied for the lead and watching from the clubhouse as Molinari stood over a 30-foot birdie opportunity on the 18th.

The Italian missed that putt and a similar one in the play-off to hand Singh the trophy.

The Indian commented afterwards that his positive display at the Irish Open at Portrush had given him the confidence he needed to challenge for the top prize in Aberdeen.

Shane Lowry was best of the Irish, finishing 13-Under, five shots back of Singth and Molinari, to end up in joint 11th.

Padraig Harrington was a shot back and placed joint 16th while Phil Mickelson ended on the same score after signing off for a final round of 74.

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