Wentworth (UK): SSP Chowrasia wasted a great start with a string of bogeys on back nine but still finished at even par 71 to emerge as the best Indian performer on the opening day of the BMW PGA Golf Championship here.
Shiv Kapur (74) in tied 53rd and Jeev Milkha Singh (75) in tied 80th made disappointing starts to their campaign in the flagship event of the European Tour at Wentworth Club on Thursday.
Chowrasia had two birdies on the front nine on fourth and seventh. Another birdie on the 10th saw him go three-under. But then he skidded with bogeys on 11th, 13th, 15th and 16th and dropped to one-over, before a birdie on 18th saw him to get to even par.
Kapur had two bogeys on front nine, a double on 12th and his lone birdie of the day came on 13th. Jeev had four bogeys, a double and two birdies in his round of 75.
Luke Donald meanwhile took a giant stride towards the world number one spot with a seven-under par 64.
Four days after he missed out on dethroning Lee Westwood, last year`s runner-up Donald dazzled with eight-birdies on a wet and windy day. Westwood could only respond with a one over 72 as Donald led Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and Sweden`s Johan Edfors by two.
Donald`s only mistake came when he pulled his approach to the 480 yard 12th into the trees and had to chip out sideways.
But he was already five under when that bogey came and over the closing stretch he picked up further strokes on the 13th, 16th and 17th. Donald had Colin Montgomerie alongside him for a while, but the 47 year old - without a top-ten finish for almost three years and 462nd in the Official World Golf Ranking - bogeyed the 15th and 16th.
That left 18-year-old Manassero in second place along with Edfors - who claimed all three of his European Tour titles back in 2006.
Manassero could move into the world`s top 15 if he captures his third European Tour title this weekend. Edfors produced a stunning back nine 32 that was one better than what Donald could manage.
Ian Poulter (68), who denied Donald the world number one spot with his Volvo World Match Play Championship victory at Finca Cortesin last Sunday, was in a four-way tie for fifth with Wales` Bradley Dredge, Spain`s Jose Manuel Lara and England`s Ross McGowan.