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Arjun keeps Indian flag flying
September 08, 2005 19:48 IST
Arjun Singh stumbled at the end but still emerged best among the 12-strong Indian contingent after the first round of the US $2 million Singapore Open at the Serapong Golf Course on Sentosa Island.
Arjun was cruising at two-under through 16 before he lost two shots in as many holes, finding the bunker on the par-three eighth and missing a 10-foot par putt on the ninth, which was his closing hole for the day.
"It was a bad finish after a fairly good day," Arjun Singh said. "I did pretty well through the day and had birdies on all par fives."
The Indian, who started on the back nine, had also bogeyed the 15th hole earlier.
The other Indians in the field struggled on the spectacular but demanding course. The morning rain also added to the problems.
Jyoti Randhawa played the first ten holes in rain and said, "It was tough all the way." He finished with a three-over 74.
Ashok Kumar brought in a creditable one-over 72 on a tough day, while star players Jeev Milkha Singh and Rahil Gangjee, both past winners on the Asian Tour, had to be satisfied with a 74 each.
Harmeet Kahlon, Amandeep Johl, Uttam Singh Mundy and Digvijay Singh were four-over at 75, while Gaurav Ghei, after a decent start, ended with a six-over 77.
Firoze Ali struggled to a nine-over 80 and Shiv Kapur shot the worst round of his professional life with a 10-over 81.
The leaderboard had three players sharing the lead at four-under 67 -- Thais Thongchai Jaidee and Chapchai Nirat, and Korean-born American Anthony Kang.
Kiwi Mahal Pearce and Edward Loar were a shot behind, while six players were tied at two-under 69 on a day, when only 19 golfers broke par and a further 12 returned par cards.
Marquee names, world No 7 Adam Scott and US Tour player Craig Parry were tied for 12th at one-under 70, while Lee Westwood and Nick O'Hern were tied at even par 71.
Arjun Singh dropped out of the top-60 in Asia last year for the first time since 1998. As a result he got only six starts this seasons, but has made the cut four times, twice finishing in top-10.
As if the rain was not enough of a bother, Randhawa, playing only his second tournament in 10 weeks, found the water twice. He ended with a bogey on par-five fourth and with a double bogey on par-four 15th.
"Overall I did not play well and hit only about two-thirds of the fairways. Here one has to find fairway every time or land in trouble with the roughs."
Ashok Kumar, playing the biggest event of his fledgling pro career, had three bogeys and two birdies. "It was a very good but demanding experience," he said.
Jeev was disappointed with his round. "I went through the difficult front nine in even par with two each of birdies and bogeys and then ended bogeying three of the first four holes on back nine."
Gangjee had just one birdie and four bogeys in his 74.