Veteran Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh regained the trust in his driver and found himself back in a position not seen in a long while as he carded five-under 65 to take the joint third position after the opening round of the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open here on Thursday.
Along with Jeev, his compatriots Rahill Gangjee and S.S.P. Chawrasia were also impressive — they shared the sixth spot after scoring matching 66s. Asian Tour leader Anirban Lahiri, who finished runner-up at Macao Open last week, scored 67 to be tied 12th at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Jeev, who was one stroke behind joint leaders Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei and Italy’s Andrea Pavan, stumbled early with a bogey on the opening hole. But the 43-year-old found his way back with three birdies on the third, fourth and sixth. The Indian dropped another shot on nine but stormed home in 32 on the back nine.
“I’ve got a new driver now in the bag, and I’m hitting the ball much better. I think it’s much easier when you get the ball in play off the tee, and then move on from there. So it’s happening more often and I think that’s why the numbers are coming up,” Jeev, the Asian Tour honorary member, said in a release.
Jeev, who will lead Team Asia at next year’s EurAsia Cup, was also delighted with his resurgence in form following a lean spell in Asia and Europe.
“I think I needed a start like this and I’m going to give it my 100% like what I do every week and hopefully this is my week. I’m glad I’m putting myself in the right position and hopefully I can keep going like that from here, and move on to better things.
“In this game, I think when the trust and the confidence comes back, you’ll start putting the numbers on the board. I’m in that process right now and I’m feeling good,” said the six-time winner on the Asian Tour.
Among other Indians in the fray, Gaganjeet Bhullar finished tied 37th following a 69. Rashid Khan, Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur were tied 54th on even-par 70.
But Arjun Atwal struggled for a three-over 73 as the former Asian Tour champion was at tied 112th position.