Macau: Jeev Milkha Singh got off to a good start with a three-under 68 to be placed tied eighth after the opening round of the USD 750,000 Macau Open golf on Thursday.
Jeev enjoyed a bogey-free 68 that put him in tied eighth, two shots behind the four leaders and in the middle of a traffic jam that has top 18 players within two shots of each other and another 12 players were one shot further down at two-under.
Jeev was two behind the leaders -- American Anthony Kang, Swede Rikard Karlberg, Yih-shin Chan of Chinese Taipei and Englishman Nick Redfern -- all of whom had 66 each for a five-under par card.
Three players -- Wang Ter-chang, Brad Smith and Adam Groom -- were at four-under.
Jeev was the best among 13 Indians who entered the field here at the Macau Golf and Country Club. His 68 with three birdies and no bogeys placed sixth for the first round.
Only three Indians came under par on a course that gave a lot of birdie opportunities.
Shiv Kapur struggled on the greens but still emerged with a two-under 69 in tied 19th, while Himmat Rai still relishing his last week`s win, shot 70 for tied 31st.
Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chowrasia were tied 59th at 72 each and Manav Jaini had a 73 in tied 77th, while Sujjan Singh and Mandeo Pathania carded 74 each to be tied 85th and in danger of missing the cut.
Anirban Lahiri recovered well from a 10 on par-five fifth, where he had one unplayable and went out of bounds once. Then with two bogeys in last three holes, he ended with a 75, the same as Chiragh Kumar, who had two bogeys and one birdie in last three holes, but on front stretch.
Jyoti Randhawa and Vinod Kumar shot 77 each and Digvijay Singh withdrew from the event because of a family emergency. Kunal Bhasin, who plays on Indian Tour also shot 72.
"It wasn`t easy to putt on these grainy greens. I made no bogeys and you should take your score whenever you shoot three-under without any bogeys. I`m satisfied, at least for the present," said Jeev.
"I love this golf course. You have to think your way around and you got to be fit to walk it. I think it is a great test of golf. I haven`t played in Macau for about 12 years. There`re always good memories coming back here.”
"I remember the 17th hole had a good view. It is great to come back and play out here. Macau has definitely grown big time with so many casinos and huge buildings. When I was here last time there was nothing here. It is quite a change of the skyline. It is fun and a great place," he added.
Himmat Rai, coming in as the latest winner on Asian Tour, did well to stay calm as he shot an one-under 71.
"I need to concentrate a bit more," said Himmat with the reference that last week`s win was still on his mind.
He was three-under for the first 10 holes, but coming back on the front stretch of the course, he gave away two bogeys on third and fifth.
SSP Chowrasia, who leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit, was back on the putting green soon after the round.
"I didn`t putt well and my drives went left and right. My second shot didn`t give me a chance to score as well as I was left with 30 and 20 footer putts. I had one three putt on the 15th hole. I had a long putt but it lipped out to about three feet and I missed that as well. Overall, my game is okay but I`m struggling with my putting," he said.
Kapur had a torrid time on the greens. "I missed at least three putts inside four feet or so. That was really early in the round. I was two-over through four," said Kapur, who had four birdies in last 10 holes to finish at 69.