Digvijay shoots 67 to lie fifth at Chiangmai, Kapur 16th

Chiangmai: Digvijay Singh hit a flawless five-under 67 to be tied fifth as the Indians made a good start on the first day of the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic at the Alpine Golf Club.

Shiv Kapur, whose sole win on the Asian tour came in Thailand in 2005, also opened strongly with three-under 69 after starting from the tenth and was tied 16th.

Gaganjeet Bhullar carded 70 to be tied 27th, while Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chowrasia, Jyoti Randhawa and Himmat Rai carded 71 each and were tied 50th.

Rashid Khan and Sujjan Singh scored 72 each to be tied 73rd. Earlier, C Muniyappa pulled out after two holes.

Digvijay, an affable golfer, with a love for skydiving and adventure sports, was pleased with his showing and said, "Very satisfying, bogey free and made five birdies. After a long time, I putted decent today. [It] Couldn`t be a better time to get back into the game. [Now] Looking forward to defending (the Panasonic Open India) next week as well."

"It was good because I didn`t leave any five footers, which is great. I hit it close on some occasions, hit it close on 14 and on seven (both par-5s). Two putt for the birdies there. The greens are not easy to read but luckily I was on the right side of the holes. I was injured last year and at some events, fell ill, so all is in place now," added Digvijay, who was tied at 67 alongwith Pawin Ingkhapradit and Jason Knutzon.

Kapur said he started off badly with a bogey on 11 but returned to play solid golf.

"I played quite solid, didn`t make many mistakes. Think the greens are quite tricky. They are grainy and quite slopey and the pins were tucked in some spots. Overall, I gave myself some chances and would have liked to shoot a couple better, but it was nice to shoot the birdie on the last," he said.

Leader of the pack, Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who made a change in the putting grip, rode a streak of five birdies from fifth to ninth and then three in the last five holes enroute to his 65 that had eight birdies against one bogey.

Prayad stole the thunder from South Africa`s Ernie Els, who battled to a 69 with a short putter in his bag for the first time since the end of 2011.

Prom Meesawat, also from Thailand, was tied second with China`s Hu Mu and American Jonathan Moore at 66 each.

China`s upcoming player, Hu Mu, showed his growing potential with a solid 66 after ending his last five holes with an eagle and two birdies to tie for second place with Prom Meesawat of Thailand and American Jonathan Moore.

Asia`s first Major champion Y E Yang of Korea shot a 69, as with three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee, who needs a victory this week to qualify for the Masters Tournament next month.

Last week`s Maybank Malaysian Open winner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, came in with a 71.