Singh Moves Up to Join Mcdowell on Top at Ballantine's Championship

Sat 15 Mar 2008

Singh Moves Up to Join Mcdowell on Top at Ballantine's Championship

Jeju Island, Korea, March 15: India?s Jeev Milkha Singh, who started the day two strokes behind overnight leader Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, fired a blistering eight-under-par 64 to set up a titanic clash between Asia?s and Europe?s best when the inaugural Ballantine?s Championship heads into the final round on Sunday.
McDowell appeared to be running away with the lead again but the fragility of his swing on the closing 18th led to a costly double-bogey and he eventually had to settle for a share of the lead with Singh on 18-under-par 198.

Ryder Cup star, Paul McGinley of Ireland meanwhile, played another steady round of golf with scores of 68, 67 and 67 for a three day total of 202 to pile on the pressure on the joint leaders after finishing in third position.

A closing birdie left Sweden?s Johan Edfors a stroke further back on 203 in fourth position while Australia?s Kane Webber and reigning British Open champion Padraig Harrington are tied for fifth on 204 at the US$2.9 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korean PGA.

Overnight leader, McDowell came out of the blocks in scorching pace, where he birdied the first two holes, eagled the fourth and continued with another two birdies on the eighth and ninth holes before reaching the turn in 30.

?I thought I might have a good chance to put the tournament sort of in my hands after coming through with a six-under par in the front nine, but then Jeev ran off with five birdies after the turn,? said McDowell.

McDowell continued to match Singh stroke for stroke after the turn but had to contend with the disappointment of dropping two shots for a double bogey at the closing 18th.

?I?m obviously very disappointed with my finish.  I tried to cut a little five- iron in there but double- crossed it and made it in six,? said McDowell.

?But I mean, the way I look at it, I knew Jeev and I were going to have a little bit of tussle tomorrow at some point.?
Despite having to nurse a nagging flu bug, Singh turned on a sterling performance, firing a total of nine birdies against a lone bogey to finish with the day?s best score of 64 at the Pinx Golf Club.

?McDowell played really well, too, today except he had a little bad luck on the last.  But I think we brought the best out of each other on the golf course,? said Singh.

?He made a lot of birdies on the start and I came back and also made a few birdies.  I think it was a good game out there today,? said the 2006 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, who was also presented with a bottle of Ballantine?s 21 Year Old for finishing with the day?s lowest score.

?I had a good round today and whoever handles himself better tomorrow will win. But for now, I'm happy with my position,? added Singh.
Ireland?s McGinley will have to continue to keep pace with the leaders despite playing some of his best golf this week.

?The standard on the Tours now is just unbelievably strong. It's incredible, really incredible.  The scoring and the cuts are much lower than you think and it's just so difficult to win on Tour now,? said McGinley.

?I need to play better tomorrow and all I'm concerned about is me, Paul McGinley, and if I play better, you never know what might happen.?

Pre-tournament favourite Choi Kyung-ju of Korea finished on 209 for a share of 17th position while Chris DiMarco of the US slipped down seven spots to tied-19th on 210.

Leading third round scores

198 - Graeme Mcdowell (NIR) 68-64-66;Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 68-66-64

202 - Paul Mcginley (IRL) 68-67-67

203 - Johan Edfors (SWE) 69-65-69

204 - Kane Webber (AUS) 71-68-65;Padraig Harrington (IRL) 71-65-68

205 - Ariel Canete (ARG) 70-68-67;Anthony Kim (USA) 68-68-69

206 - Oliver Wilson (ENG) 70-69-67;Shingo Katayama (JPN) 68-70-68;Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 67-70-69;Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 70-66-70

207 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-70-68

Selected scores

209 - K. J. Choi (KOR) 71-69-69; Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) 69-66-74

210 - Anthony Kang (USA) 70-71-69;Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 68-72-70;Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 68-71-71;Chris Dimarco (USA) 70-68-72

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Sofitel (Official Hotel) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.

For further information, please contact Asian Tour?s Calvin Koh at the Ballantine?s Championship media centre at +82 64 792 1976