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Jeev shoots par, lies sixth

December 16, 2006 21:19 IST

Jeev Milkha Singh managed only an even par 72 despite hitting four birdies in the third round and was tied sixth in the Volvo Masters of Asia at the Thai Country Club.

Jeev, who is five shots away from the leader Thongchai Jaidee, admitted that he would need a really good score to challenge the Thai, who is hoping to end what has been a barren year for him.

Jaidee, who won the Volvo Masters in 2003, shot a three-under 69 and leads fellow Thai Prayad Marksaeng (68) by two.

Marksaeng was in shared second with Wiratchant, the Asia No. 1 last year, and US-based Malaysian Ian Steel, who had a brilliant front nine of 32 on way to 66 that put him at nine-under and gave him a shot at his maiden Asian Tour title.

Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza (68) was sole fifth, while six players, including Jeev Milkha Singh were in tied sixth. The group also included Prom Meesawat, who played with Jeev today.

While Jeev was the best among the seven Indians in the field, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia has been most consistent with all three sub par rounds. With a one-under 71, he was five-under and tied 12th.

"I am going to give it one big shot tomorrow and come closer to the top," said Chowrasia, who has made sure of his Asian Tour card for 2007.

The 2004 Volvo Masters champion Jyoti Randhawa picking up his clubs for the first time after a three-week holiday shot a one-over 73 and was tied 22nd at two-under 214.

Defending champion Shiv Kapur overcame a horrible four over 40 on front nine to recover to two-under on back nine for a card 74 that pegged him to 25th.

"Not much is working for me," said Kapur.

Amandeep (71), Gaurav Ghei (73) and Rahil Gangjee (73) were tied 36th, 51st and 55th.

Playing with new clubs sent to him by his sponsors in Japan, Jeev said "I had fun again today. I am not hitting the ball too good, honestly. I think it showed again today. Hitting was not up to the mark, and I was not being consistent. Yesterday was the same but I putted good needing just 22 for the round."

"I still ended up with even par. It was a tough day as it was windy. I will take even par and give it a go again tomorrow. I need to put a good score tomorrow but it'll be tough to catch Thongchai. I will try to have a good round and not shoot over par for four days and try for an under par finish," added Jeev.

Jaidee battled blustery conditions at Thai Country Club for a three-under-par 69, thanks to four birdies against a lone bogey.

Malaysian Ian Steel moved into contention in the Asian Tour's grand finale with a bogey-free 66 and was tied second with last year's Asian number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand (70) and compatriot Prayad Marksaeng (68).

Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza blitzed the back nine with a 31 en route to a fine 68 and will enter the final day three behind Thongchai, a two-time Asian number one.

"I stuck to my game plan and played very well. It was windy out there and it was hard to keep the ball on the fairway. I didn't play the first few holes very well but after that I got it going and enjoyed the day," said Thongchai, who is looking to keep his winning streak at least one title every year since 2000.

First round leader Prayad will change drivers tomorrow after marching left and right all day with errant tee shots.

"Even if you are on the fairway, it is tough. If you get in the rough, you can forget about making a score," said Prayad, a five-time winner in Asia.

"My driving has been not good, so I need to get that back. I'll use a different driver tomorrow."

Wiratchant said: "The pin positions were very difficult today so this score (two-under-par 70) was very good for me. The wind caused a few problems. The greens are already hard and with the wind it was even more difficult to stop the ball. It was very difficult to make a good score."

On Jeev, the Thai added, "I am glad to see Jeev Milkha Singh doing so well. This year, he has been very successful everywhere, not just in Asia. It is very difficult for an Asian player to win on the European Tour, Japan Tour and Asian Tour. Next year if he plays only on the Asian Tour he can keep number one but if he plays around the world it will be difficult, even for him."

Indian scores:
210 - Jeev Milkha Singh (72-66-72) tied sixth
211 - SSP Chowrasia (70-70-71) tied 12th
  214 - Jyoti Randhawa (72-69-73) tied 22nd
  215 - Shiv Kapur (72-69-74) tied 25th)
  218 - Amandeep Johl (70-77-71) tied 36th
  222 - Gaurav Ghei (73-76-73) tied 51st
  224 - Rahil Gangjee (79-72-73) tied 55th.

Leading third round scores:
  205 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-68-69
  207 - Iain Steel (MAS) 69-72-66, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 67-72-68, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 72-65-70
  208 - Frankie Minoza (PHI) 76-64-68
  210 - Brad Kennedy (AUS) 71-70-69, David Bransdon (AUS) 76-65-69, Charlie Wi (KOR) 71-69-70, Edward Loar (USA) 71-68-71, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 72-66-72, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-70-72.

V Krishnaswamy
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