New Delhi: Himmat Rai was the best placed Indian at tied fourth after carding a decent four-under 66 while three of his compatriots, including Jeev Milkha Singh, were just a stroke behind in tied 10th position after the first round of the Avantha Masters, on Thursday.
Rai was sharing the fourth spot with Thailand`s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee, French duo of Jean-Baptiste Gonnet and Gregory Havert along with Jamie Donaldson of Wales.
A stroke behind were Jeev Milkha Singh, Vivek Bhandari and Anirban Lahiri. Also sharing the tied 10th spot were Scott Jamieson of Scotland, Peter Uihlein of the USA, Oscar Floren of Sweden, Marcel Siem of Germany, Italian Andrea Pavan and Marcus Ftasher of Australia.
Spain`s Alejandro Canizares and Scotland`s Peter Whiteford were sharing the lead after posting a matching six-under-par 66s.
Italy`s Federico Colombo is a further shot back in third place after he signed for a 67.
Defending champion SSP Chowrasia, Shiv Kapur and Mukesh Kumar were in the bunch that came back with cards of 71 each on a day when 46 players went under par.
Himmat, the best Indian on view on Thursday, said, "I felt in control and was focussed on the job. I have been keeping to my routines and have found that really good. I had five birdies and just one bogey. I hit the ball well and my longest putt was from 15 feet. I got pretty close to the cup on most of my birdies," said Himmat.
Jeev on his game said, "I hit the ball well and got myself into good position for birdies. And I even putted well, but they just didn`t fall. Still I would say I am quite happy with the game today. A three-under is always a decent start."
He also had a fine eagle on the fifth.
"That was a nice putt to hole. A double break and an uphill one from almost 25 feet. The pin was to the left and I hit to the centre of the green. That gave a good feel. I am getting over my cold, which affected me in Dubai. I am sure it will be fine as the week gets along. It was nice weather out there, so it helped."