Jeev shoots 66, lies tied seventh in China Open
Chengdu: Jeev Milkha Singh had a superb day at the Luxehills International Golf Club with seven birdies and an eagle, as he returned a card of six-under 66 despite a double bogey and a bogey in the first round of the Volvo China Open, an event he won in 2006.
Jeev, who ended a seven-year title drought with the win at Volvo China Open five years ago, is hoping to end a three-year winless period this week. He was two shots behind Korean Han Chang-won (64).
Han, a former Asian Amateur Champion, led by one point from Northern Ireland`s Gareth Maybin (65).
Shiv Kapur, with four birdies and no bogeys at 68, was tied 24th while the third Indian in the fray, SSP Chowrasia (70) was tied 58th on a low-scoring day.
"It was a great day for scoring. I was using a new driver from Callaway and really enjoyed it out there," said Jeev.
"I am staying in the present and not getting ahead of myself. The course is playing superb and it should be a really low scoring event. The winner could be in 20s (sub-par)."
"It was superb weather and one had to take advantage of the conditions," added Jeev. "The Luxehills is a fine course. The greens and fairways are in good condition."
Jeev was tied seventh with New Zealand`s Steve Alker, Korean Choi Jin-ho and Dutchman Joost Luiten, all tied on six under. Keith Horne, who opened with four birdies, was seven under through 14 holes as play was stopped early due to poor light.
Jeev, starting on the tenth, had three birdies and one double bogey to turn in two-under. On the second nine, he eagled the first, and birdied the third, fifth, seventh and ninth. He dropped a shot on eighth for a card of 66.
Starting at the tenth, 19- year-old Han had two birdies on the way out, before adding further gains on the first and fourth. But it was a run of four straight birdies over the closing stretch that brought him home in 30 and propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.
New Zealander Michael Campbell also continued his recent improvement with a five under par 67. The former US Open Champion made only four cuts in two years after a string of injury woes.
But he reached the weekend for the first time in 2011 at the Sicilian Open a month ago and has since finished 19th in Morocco and 35th in Malaysia. Campbell revealed his renaissance has been in no small part down to an Olympic rowing legend.
"Every week seems to be getting better for me," said Campbell. "I didn`t finish it off last week in Malaysia but today I played great from tee to green and putted better.”
"It`s just getting advice from people who have been there. Sir Steve Redgrave and I had a chat about six months ago sharing a car together at the Dunhill Links last year. We went from Carnoustie to St Andrews which is about 45 minutes so it was very inspiring 45 minutes talking to Steve. He`s great and very supportive," said Campbell.