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Golf: Randhawa tied second

July 06, 2007 13:33 IST

Jyoti Randhawa shot a flawless five-under 65 to position himself in tied second place after the opening round at the Smurfit Kappa European Open in Kildare, Ireland.

Compatriot Jeev Milkha Singh also had a fine day with a three-under 67, that had just one bogey. He was tied for ninth spot.

However, Shiv Kapur, the third Indian in the fray, struggled with a nine-over 79 that set him way back in the field.

Randhawa is already enjoying his best ever season on the European Tour where he already has six top-10 finishes, including a second. His first round performance at the rain-hit K Club has given him another opportunity for a breakthrough win.

Dutchman Maarten Lafeber shot a six-under 64 to lead the field. He had skipped the practice round after playing a two-round Open qualifier earlier.

Randhawa was tied with three others, Niclas Fasth of Sweden, winner of the recent BMW International Open, Frenchman Grigory Havret and England's Robert Rock.

The Indian, who also played a 36-hole British Open qualifier at Sunningdale but failed to make it to Carnoustie, also chose to skip the practice round to get some rest.

It paid dividends, as he made good use of the shortened holes to card a fine score.

Randhawa started sedately on the 10th and parred the first six holes, before finding birdies on 15th and 17th. On the second stretch, he birdied the sixth and eagled the par-five seventh before finishing with two more pars.

Last week, Randhawa was seventh at the Open de France and this season his best has been a second place finish at the Open de Espana.

Jeev started on the first and was cautious in wet and soft ground conditions. He parred the first three holes before getting a birdie on fourth and another on sixth.

The Chandigarh golfer dropped a shot on ninth, but picked birdies on 10th and 16th. He was tied with six others, including Englishmen Simon Dyson and Simon Khan.

Kapur struggled all through with just two birdies on sixth and 15th. He had four double bogeys on fourth, sixth, 12th and 16th besides bogeys on eighth, ninth and 14th.

Among other Asian Tour players, Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant shot a 68 in tied 17th place while South African Anton Haig was a stroke back in joint 31st spot.

Thongchai Jaidee had a slow start with a 71 in tied 72nd position.

With heavy rains in the past week, the Tour officials decided to move the tees forward at seven holes for the first round as many of the landing areas were flooded. The 18th, which is normally a 578-yard par five, was reduced to 162-yard par three turning the par-72 Smurfit Course into a par 70.

Leader Lafeber hit straight and had six birdies without any bogeys after starting on the 10th. A seven-foot putt on his first hole got a birdie and he added five more on the 16th, first, fifth and seventh holes before holing a chip for a birdie two at the eighth.

Argentine Andres Romero shot a hole in one on the 17th with a seven-iron to win a Renault Megane Cabriolet. He had won the Pro-Am a day earlier.

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