July 15, 2012
Singh bests Molinari in Scottish Open playoff
By Sports Network
Jeev Milkha Singh birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Francesco Molinari and win the Scottish Open.
Singh fired a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to finish at 17-under-par 271. He then waited 90 minutes for the final groups to complete their rounds.
Molinari bogeyed the 15th to drop to minus-17. He parred the last three holes to close out an even-par round of 72 at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
In the extra session, the duo headed back to the 18th hole and both found the short grass off the tee. They both laid up in the fairway with their second shots.
Molinari's third landed 25 feet behind the hole before Singh dropped his 15 feet right of the cup. Molinari left his birdie effort well short.
Singh stepped up and poured his in the middle of the cup for the win.
As an added bonus, Singh claimed one of the final spots in the field for next week's British Open thanks to his fourth European Tour title.
"Especially playing well this week and going into the Open Championship, I think it's a treat for me," Singh stated at the trophy presentation. "I'm really glad to be in the Open Championship, and hopefully I'll have a good week there too."
Marc Warren moved to 20-under with three consecutive birdies from the 10th and was briefly three clear of the field. However, he double-bogeyed the 15th and followed with bogeys on 16 and 17.
Warren closed with a 1-under 71 to share third place with Alexander Noren (70) at 16-under-par 272.
Soren Kjeldsen birdied the sixth and seventh to grab a piece of the lead, but had two bogeys and nine pars over the final 11 holes. He finished at 15-under- par 273 and ended alongside Thomas Levet (70) and Matthew Baldwin (67).
World No. 1 Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington were among eight players that shared 16th place at 12-under-par 276. Donald, last year's winner, closed with a 73, while Mickelson struggled to a 2-over 74. Harrington posted a 1-under 71 on Sunday.
Singh got off to a flying start with four birdies in the first six holes. That spurt got him to 16-under and within one of the lead. After a trio of pars, he birdied the 10th to join Warren and Molinari in the lead at 17-under.
Singh closed with eight consecutive pars to get in first. He waited as Molinari finished his back nine.
"I was just enjoying a cup of tea and some chocolate cake, and was watching the round on TV. Suddenly it got exciting...and the field came back," Singh said on TV. "I put myself in position to go in for a playoff. I'm very fortunate."
However, it was Warren that took control early on the final nine. He followed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 10th with a birdie on 11 and a tap-in birdie on the par-5 12th.
That moved Warren into the lead at 20-under. Things started to come apart for the Scotsman at the 15th. He faltered to a double-bogey there, then drove into a bush at 16. That led to a bogey and Warren dropped another stroke on 17 to fall one back.
After that, it was all up to Molinari. The Italian parred the first eight holes before making birdie at the ninth.
After a poor lay-up shot on the par-5 12th, Molinari left his third shot short as well. He knocked his fourth to 18 feet and 2-putted for bogey.
The 29-year-old was three back at the time, but that was before Warren's struggles. Molinari bounced back with a birdie on the 13th. He fell back to 17-under with a bogey at 15. Molinari failed to birdie the final three holes, and came up short in the playoff as well.
NOTES: Singh earned 518,046 euros for the victory...Singh improved to 1-1 in European Tour playoffs, while Molinari dropped to 0-3...Molinari finished second for the second straight week as he ended one shot behind Marcel Siem last week in France...The European Tour heads to Royal Lytham & St. Annes next week as Darren Clarke defends his title at the British Open.