Aberdeen (Scotland): Indian golfers had a mixed day in office yesterday as Jeev Milkha Singh rallied to win, while Shiv Kapur exited early on the opening day of the Saltire Paul Lawrie Matchplay at the Murcar Golf Links here.
Jeev, trailing four-down at one stage, rallied to win 1-up on the 18th against Scott Hend, but Shiv Kapur allowed local man Richie Ramsay to make a comeback from three-down to win 1-up in another match. Jeev, who has vast experience at Matchplay, started very
Hend, a seasoned campaigner, won the first two holes and then the fourth to go three up. He had birdied one each of them. He also won the sixth and seemed to be running away when Jeev bogeyed the par-4, just as he had done on fourth. Jeev fought back to win the par-5 seventh, as Hend missed a birdie putt but the Australian again went 4-up with his fourth birdie in eight holes.
On the back nine, Jeev was a different player. He won five of the next holes, three of them with three birdies. Hend bogeyed 14th and 15th, as Jeev parred. Hend fought once more with a par par-3 16th to make it all square. But Jeev won the next hole with a par as Hend bogeyed and as both players parred the 18th.
Jeev has moved into the next round, where he will meet Julien Quesne, who beat Tom Lewis by the same margin of 1-up. Kapur had a good start against Ramsay, who holds the course record at Murcar Links with a 62. After three halved holes with pars, Kapur birdied the fourth and parred fifth, as Ramsay bogeyed fifth. Kapur went three-up with a birdie on seventh.
Ramsay, who interestingly won his first European Tour title with a win in play-off over Kapur in December 2009 at the South African Open, fought back, winning the eighth with a birdie and restored parity winning the 11th and 14th. Ramsay went ahead for the first time with a birdie on par-4 17th.
He holed a testy birdie on 18th as Kapur also birdied, but the Scot held onto his lead and moved into next round. Jeev said he was "fortunate" to be alive for the second round. "It is the first time I have been four down and came back to win the match. It was hard work. Scott played excellent golf on first nine holes and when I was four down, I told myself, 'I am going to lose this, so might as well go all out.
Just then on back nine I started holing putts and getting back some of the holes. The momentum came back and I was happy to be holding last to win the match," Jeev said after his win." Talking of matchplay, Jeev said, "Each hole is like a play-off and sets your heart racing. The 18th reminded me of the play-off at Scottish Open, which I won some years ago." He also thanked fellow pro Paul Lawrie for putting up a different kind of a tournament like match-play.