Neither the injured index finger on his right hand nor the news of his injured mother needing a surgery back home, could stop Jeev Milkha Singh from equalling the course record of eight-under 64 on the third day of the DP World Tour Championships, in Dubai on Saturday.
The 40-year-old Jeev, seemingly out of the tournament at one-over for 36 holes, exploded into action with nine birdies against one bogey to rise to seven-under 209 and into tied 25th place, up from 50th overnight.
Jeev is the seventh player to shoot 64 on the Earth Course in Dubai, and he may well have the record for himself but for a 15-foot putt grazing the hole on the 18th.
Jeev, who is ignoring a doctor’s advice to take an extended break from the game, has also had to handle the news of his 76-year-old mother, suffering a fall in the driveway outside her home and hurting her leg badly.
“I learnt about it before I teed off on Friday,” he said. “She needs major surgery and I’m going to fly back tomorrow (Sunday). I dedicate this round to her.”
Overnight co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald shot 66 each and shared the 54-hole lead at 17-under three adrift of the South African duo Louis Ooshtuizen (68) and Charl Schwartzel (67).
Jeev joined a group of six players who have 64 at the Earth Course. The course record set by Lee Westwood en route to winning in 2009 has now been equalled by Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson, Alvaro Quiros, Martin Kaymer and on the first day by Sergio Garcia.
“I enjoyed the round today. I putted really well. I think that’s why I shot a 64. I was aggressive, pushed it a little bit in the wind and took it to the right. Hit a good chip to 15 feet. Tried to hole it for a new course record and had that in the back of my mind. I wasn’t successful, but tying it is good enough for me,” he said.
On the question of his hand, he laughed and added, “It’s on the mend but I would like to take some more time off. But these tournaments are so good that I can’t stay away from them.”
He went on, “(I) still can’t hit the shots I really want to hit, especially the punch shots because it really hurts when I dig into the ground. I think the good part today was I’ve been driving the ball really well for weeks, but I hit the ball better with the irons today. Honestly the putter was really hot and I think that was the reason for a 64 today.”
On his goal for the final day, Jeev said, “Maybe, a Top-10. I had a thought in my mind today to go for the course record. I said to Janet on the first tee, let’s try to get a new course record. I was close enough and maybe I have the same thought process tomorrow and see what comes my way.”
Speaking about his mother, Jeev said, “I dedicate this round to my mother. She was in ICU yesterday. I learnt about it just before I teed off (yesterday). She had a bad fall and she’s fractured her leg, the knee, plus the fibula bone and she needs major surgery. She needs some plates put in and that surgery is going to take place on Sunday morning, and we are hoping and praying that everything goes fine and she comes out well.