DUBAI (Reuters) - Jeev Milkha Singh dedicated a sparkling eight-under-par 64 to his ailing 76-year-old mother back home in India after equaling the course record in the DP World Tour Championship third round on Saturday.
Singh, who became the first Indian to play in the U.S. Masters five years ago, said his mother Nirmal was in intensive care in Chandigarh after taking a nasty fall in the garden.
“She has fractured her knee and the fibula bone and needs major surgery,” the 10-times European Tour winner told reporters after surging through the field to finish with a seven-under aggregate of 209.
”She needs some plates put in and that surgery is going to take place tomorrow morning. We are hoping and praying that everything goes fine and she comes out well.
“I dedicate this round to my mum for sure,” said Singh after rattling off nine birdies and a solitary bogey at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course that is hosting the tour’s final event of the season.
Singh’s mother used to be a national-level volleyball player and still plays golf but her worried son said it might be some time before she picks up her clubs again.
“That used to be her exercise, she played golf every day in the morning for nine holes,” said the 40-year-old.
“We’ve got a driveway which has marble stone. There was some water on it and she slipped.”
His mother’s accident seemed to galvanize Singh from the start on Saturday.
”I said to my caddie Janet on the first tee, let’s try to get a new course record,“ said the former Asian Tour number one. ”I was close enough and maybe I can have the same thought process tomorrow.
“As we were walking to the first tee I said to Janet, ‘We are one-over for the tournament, way down the field, let’s try for the record’.”
Singh’s 64 came 24 hours after Sergio Garcia produced an eight-under effort to equal the Earth record previously held by Britons Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher, Swede Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer of Germany and last year’s tournament winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain.
The Indian said he should not even be playing in this week’s $8 million Dubai event because of a finger injury he sustained when winning the Scottish Open in July.
“I would like to take some time off but these tournaments are so good that I can’t stay away,” laughed Singh.
”I can’t really hit the shots I want to hit especially the punch shots because it really hurts when I dig into the ground. The putter was really hot today and I think that was the reason for the 64.
“The doctors told me to take four months off but that’s not in my dictionary. I love this game too much,” said Singh.
Editing by Alastair Himmer