Jeev receives Indian government award for excellence
Milkha Singh stayed firmly in the hunt at the halfway stage of the
US$2.2 million Commercialbank Qatar Masters on a day he received
one of the highest awards from the Indian government.
The reigning Asian Tour number one produced a battling four-under-par
68 at Doha Golf Club and will enter the weekend rounds four off
the lead shared by Retief Goosen of South Africa and Australian
Singh emulated his equally famous father Milkha Singh, an Olympic
sprinter, as a proud recipient of the Padmashri Award for Excellence,
following his outstanding year in 2006 where he won four times globally,
claimed the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit title and rose to 37th
place on the Official World Golf Ranking.
"This award will always stay with me for the rest of my life.
My father got that too in 1959 and now I've got it in 2007. It's
our Republic day today and I'm very excited about this award from
the Indian government. It's one of the highest awards for Indians.
It's a big honour for me. I've always grown up hearing my father
talk about the award and now I can tell him I've got it too,"
said a delighted Singh, who is tied eight on seven-under-par 137.
News of his achievement nearly caused him a sleepless night as
he was inundated by phone calls from well-wishers back home. "I
got a lot of calls and a lot of messages. A lot of people were trying
to wake me up on the phone last night but I put my phone on silent
mode. When I woke up this morning, I had something like 20 missed
calls," he said.
Thankfully, Singh's afternoon tee time alongside defending champion
Henrik Stenson and former US Open winner Michael Campbell allowed
him sufficient time to prepare, and he produced a fine display of
five birdies against a lone bogey.
"I hit the ball much better today, drove the ball better which
was the main thing. I hit a lot of solid shots than those misses
yesterday. I had a lot of opportunities for birdies but I'll take
68 as it was quite windy on the back nine," said Singh.
He was kicking himself though for a mental error at the last hole,
blocking a three iron approach into the par five. "I'm going
to go out there and follow my process and routine. I need to work
more on my mental side. I got result oriented and I need to sharpen
"On the last hole, I had an easy shot in. I didn't think about
hitting a good shot. I started thinking about making a birdie or
an eagle. And I hit a poor shot. I got ahead of myself. I've got
to block that out and work on my process and routine," he said.
After the end-of-year break, Singh said he was slowly getting back
into the groove. "I'm comfortable with my swing. I'm happy
with how things are going. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm
going out to give it my best shot," he said.
January 26, 2007