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Rediff.com  » Sports » Jeev takes early lead at Irish Open

Jeev takes early lead at Irish Open

June 28, 2012 20:10 IST

Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh turned in a stunning seven-under 65 to grab the lead after the opening round in the star-studded Irish Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland, on Thursday.

With seven birdies on the first 10 holes, Jeev had a chance to bring home a career-best round and even entertain thoughts of the magic number of 59, but in the end settled for a 65.

Jeev, who is winless since 2008, was one shot ahead of Mark Foster, Andrew Marshall and Matthew Zions, all of whom shot 66 each in the opening round.

Out on the world famous links, Jeev went to the turn in a six-under 30 and with another birdie at the long tenth led the tournament by one.

But he dropped a shot on the par-3 14th but picked a birdie on the 18th to finish at 65 and as the leader.

On the front nine, Jeev birdied three in a row from second to fourth and then added a fourth on the sixth hole. He then followed it up with birdies on eighth, ninth and tenth holes to go to seven-under.

England's Mark Foster was the early clubhouse leader as the Irish Open returned to Northern Ireland after a gap of 59 years.

Padraig Harrington shot a 67 as did defending champion Simon Dyson. Scot Paul Lawrie, third in The Ryder Cup points table, and European Captain Jose Maria Olazbal were paired for the third tournament in under two months and both had three-under 69s.

Watched by a sell-out crowd -- a first for The European Tour in a regular event -- that included First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy Martin McGuinness, Foster posted a six under par 66 at Royal Portrush.

Graeme McDowell, first of the three Northern Irish stars into action in a week which means so much to them all, had to be content with a one under 71.

Fellow-Major winners Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke were among the later starters facing windier conditions, but not the heavy rain that greeted the first half of the field.

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