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Jeev sweeps top Asian golf awards

Last updated on: December 18, 2006 15:54 IST

India's Jeev Milkha Singh capped a dream season when he scooped up three main honours at the Asian Tour's UBS Awards Gala 2006 on Sunday night.

In a stunning year, which saw Singh claim four titles around the globe, the tenacious Indian made it a night to remember when he was feted by his peers at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok after being voted the Players' Player of the Year and winning the inaugural UBS Special Achievement Award.

The two accolades were in addition to the prestigious UBS Order of Merit title which Singh claimed for the first time in his career following a stellar season on the Asian Tour in which he won the Volvo China Open and registered five other top-10s for a record haul of US$591,884 from 14 starts.

"It's been a dream year for me. To receive the recognition from my fellow competitors, it's a great honour. Winning these awards will stay with me for the rest of my life. It means a lot as this is the place where I started my career.

"The Asian Tour has been a family to me because this is where I started from. Everyone on Tour is so friendly and I'll never forget that," said Singh, who received a standing ovation after being crowned Asia's number one. He is the third Indian after Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa to claim the mantle.

Singh, who has propelled into the world's top-50 that guarantees him starts in all four Majors next year, also enjoyed tremendous success in Europe where he won the season-ending Volvo Masters in Spain and also triumphed twice in Japan.

Oliver Bertschinger, Head of Sponsorship, Asia Pacific, UBS, said: "Jeev Milkha Singh put together one of the most outstanding seasons in Asian Tour history in 2006. He has proven himself as the finest player on the Asian Tour through his victory on the UBS Order of Merit, plus he is considered amongst the elite on the Japanese and European Tours after his four international titles.

"There is no doubt that his contribution to Asian golf has been enormous through his single-season efforts in 2006 and we are delighted that he was also voted as the winner of the inaugural UBS Special Achievement Award."

The Rookie of the Year honour went to exciting Filipino talent Juvic Pagunsan, who finished seventh with US$291,847 on the UBS Order of Merit following four top-10s in an impressive debut season.

Anthony Kang of the United States won the Birdie Leader award after snaring a total of 322 birdies throughout 2006, which saw the Asian Tour stage an unprecedented 27 tournaments with a record of over US$24 million in total prize money.

India's Jyoti Randhawa took home the Lowest Stroke Average with 69.74, a wonderful reflection of his consistent performance in which he won the Hero Honda Indian Open and finished sixth on the UBS Order of Merit.

Simon Yates of Scotland hit the most Greens in Regulation (GIR) with a strike rate of 73 per cent to top the category while Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol took home the Lowest Putting Average award with 1.69 putts per GIR.

The Sentosa Golf Club, venue of this year's Barclays Singapore Open, was voted by the players as the Host Venue of the Year.

ASIAN TOUR'S UBS AWARDS GALA - ROLL OF HONOUR

UBS Order of Merit winner: Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)

Players' Player of the Year: Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)

UBS Special Achievement Awards: Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)

Rookie of the Year: Juvic Pagunsan (Phi)

Host Venue of the Year: Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore

Greens in Regulation: Simon Yates (Sco) 73 %

Lowest Stroke Average: Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 69.74

Birdie Leader:  Anthony Kang (USA) 322 birdies

Lowest Putting Average: Chawalit Plaphol (Tha) 1.69