East London: Jeev Milkha Singh's erratic driving saw him struggle in the opening round of the Africa Open as he carded three-over 75 and faced the prospect of an early exit here on Friday.
Jeev, starting on the backstretch of the East London Golf Club, which begins from the ninth, had two birdies against three bogeys.
Kevin Phelan (67) was joined at the top of the leaderboard by late starter Matt Ford. The 24-year-old Irishman Phelan looked to be continuing the momentum generated from his joint second placed finish at the Joburg Open last week when he surged to the top, but Englishman Ford also countered the blustery conditions and wandering wildlife to match Phelan's five under par 67.
Jeev started with a bogey on ninth and had another one on 11th. A birdie on 15th gave him some respite but bogeys on first, second and fourth indicated the struggle. A birdie on sixth saw him end the day at 75.
Jeev had just four of his drives landing in the fairways and reached only six of the 15 greens in regulation. South Africa has provided all five past winners of this event.