Singh wins Scottish Open, books British Open place

James Mack
India's Jeev Milkha Singh, pictured in May 2012, captured his fourth European Tour title on Sunday when he birdied the first play-off hole to defeat Italy's Francesco Molinari and claim the Scottish Open

After sitting in the cluhouse sipping on a cup of tea, there was double celebration for India's Jeev Milka Singh in capturing the Scottish Open.

Singh defeated Italy's Francesco Molinari with a birdie at the first extra play-off hole to also earn a place into this week's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

Singh and Molinari had ended regulation play with respective final rounds of 72 and 67 for 17-under par totals before Singh holed a 15-foot birdie putt to win the event after Molinari had parred the hole.

The 40-year old Singh had walked from the course well before Molinari made his way to the final hole and not really expecting to be a play-off.

Singh, who had been the first Indian golfer to qualify for the European Tour, went into the final round five strokes behind and lying in joint 16th position.

In fact, he revealed he had been sitting in the clubhouse enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate cake, and watching the action unfold on TV rather than being on the practice range in anticipation of the play-off.

"I was just enjoying a cup of tea and some chocolate cake and watching it on television, and suddenly got excited," said Singh, after winning a fourth career European Tour title.

"I think God has been kind, and I think the field came back and I put myself in a place to go in for a play-off - I'm very fortunate.

"I would like to thank a lot of people who have been by my side the last three, four years that have been a struggle for me with the injuries. It has been really tough and frustrating.

"You feel like your game is coming back and another injury creeps up, but I just stuck myself in there and said that you need to work on the physical side, and I worked hard on that.

"Everything has paid off, and I just want to think about the good things and not what's past and I want to look towards the future now."

Singh will now head south to Royal Lytham for his only his second British Open after contesting the 2007 championship at Carnoustie.

"It's a treat for me to be now be going to The Open," he said.

"I think a lot of people have been there with me and I'm really glad to be in the Open Championship and hopefully have a good week there, too."

Victory also earned the Chandigarah-born Singh a first prize cheque of 518,046 euros and lifted him to 14th on the Race to Dubai money list with earnings this season of 751,061 euros.

Singh will also jump some 100 places to inside the top-90 in the World Rankings when they are officially adjusted Monday.

Along with a place in this week's British Open, Singh had also earned a spot in next month's WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and November's WGC Champions event in China.

Singh is the third player over 40 to win on this year's European Tour following Scotland's Paul Lawrie (Qatar Masters) and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (Wales Open).

For Molinari it was his second runners-up role in two weeks after finishing second in the French Open.

His comfort is that he's moved to second place behind England's Justin Rose on the Race to Dubai and fourth on the European Ryder Cup qualifying points table.

Scotland's Marc Warren had been leading by two strokes with three holes to play but three-putted the 16th hole for double bogey and then had to take a penalty drop on route to a bogey at 17.

Warren, looking to become only the second Scotland-born champion, then parred the last in a round of 71 to share third place on 16-under par with Sweden's Alex Noren (70).

World number one and defending champion, Luke Donald (73) shared 16th place on 12-under par with four-time Major winning, Phil Mickelson (74) and triple Major winner, Padraig Harrington (71).