x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jeev Milkha Singh dedicates his record round to hospitalised mother

Indian golfer levels Earth Course best despite playing with injured finger at DP World Tour Championship.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24: Jeev Milkha Singh if India on the 18th green after equaling the course record during the third round the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 24, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** 156887360.jpg
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24: Jeev Milkha Singh if India on the 18th green after equaling the course record during the third round the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 24, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** 156887360.jpg

DUBAI // Given the worrisome circumstances surrounding Jeev Milkha Singh's course record-equalling 64 yesterday, perhaps the European Tour could provide him the individual accolade by awarding a few shots off.

The Indian, a "golf in Dubai" ambassador, brushed aside troubles both on and off the fairways to post the best score of the day around a generous Earth Course, carding nine birdies and a solitary bogey for an eight-under-par third round, which took him to seven under for the tournament.

Singh has been affected by a persistent finger injury since damaging it at the Scottish Open in July – a tournament he won following a play-off with Francesco Molinari – yet it was the news, realised only moments before Friday's round, that his mother Nirmal had been rushed to hospital that increased the mastery of his performance.

"I dedicate this round to my mother. She was in ICU yesterday," he said.

"She had a bad fall in the garden at home and has fractured her leg, the knee, plus the fibula bone. She needs major surgery.

"She needs some plates put in and the surgery is taking place tomorrow morning. We're all hoping and praying that everything goes fine and she comes out well.

"But the doctors have said she's 76 years old and it'll take a while for her to be walking and playing golf again.

"She had surgery in both knees about 10 years ago, but was playing golf every morning – nine holes.

"She used to love it; that was her exercise. Hopefully she can do it again after five to six months."

Singh revealed his mother had requested he offer a little relief with a fine round yesterday, and the four-time winner on Europe's main circuit almost obliged with the perfect present, his 15-foot birdie putt at the last narrowly escaping the hole for an unrivalled 63.

"I had a thought in my mind today to tie the course record," said Singh, whose bruised bone on his right index finger makes it impossible to play punch shots.

"I said to [my caddie] Janet on the first tee, 'let's try and get the course record'.

"I was close enough and maybe I'll have the same thought process tomorrow and see what comes my way. I've been driving the ball really well for weeks, but I hit it better with irons today.

"The putter was really hot; that was the reason for the 64."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE