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India's Singh denies big names in Singapore

  • Story Highlights
  • Jeev Milkha Singh of India wins star-studded Singapore Open on Asian tour
  • Singh holds off major winners Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington by a shot
  • World number three Phil Mickelson finishes five behind in ninth place
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(CNN) -- India's Jeev Milkha Singh closed with a two-under 69 to win the Singapore Open by one stroke on Sunday after Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington missed putts that would have forced a playoff.

Singh landed the Singapore Open trophy after a thrilling finale to the tournament.

Singh, who finished at seven-under for the tournament, would have breathed easier but for missing a makeable putt on the 18th which allowed the big names the chance of a playoff.

"The golfing gods were on my side," Singh said. "I'm breathing much better now," he told the Associated Press.

Els (71) and Harrington (70), who both finished at six under, subsequently missed their efforts on the 18th by the narrowest of margins.

"I was trying to make the putt on 18 but maybe I hit it a bit too soft. It shows that golf is just a game of inches," Els said. "It could have stayed straight and I'm in the play off. I'm just disappointed right now."

Australia's David Gleeson and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland both shot 69 in the final round to finish two shots off the lead at five under.

World number three Phil Mickelson saw his challenge halted by an horrendous eight on the par-4 7th hole and carded 75, leaving him ninth at two under.

The final round started with Chapchai Nirat holding a three stroke lead at 10 under, but the Thai player faded badly on Sunday, finishing four strokes off the pace.

Lam Chih Bing, bidding to become the first Singaporean ever to win his home event, finished a disappointing eight strokes back after beginning the final round in second place at seven under.

Harrington, winner of this year's British Open and the U.S. PGA Championship, moved up the leaderboard Saturday with a five-under 66, setting up Sunday's showdown with Singh and Els.

Harrington seemed poised to win before making a double-bogey on the par-4 16th hole and just missed a five-footer on 18.

"I felt I had a great chance to win the tournament," the Irishman said. "This game can be a game of inches. I'm not thrilled at the moment but I'm sure I'll get over it."

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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