After the high of winning the Nippon Series JT Cup, Jeev Milkha Singh hit a low this week at the Volvo Masters. The Chandigarh golfer returned a card of four-over 76 in the opening round and was placed tied-65, even as compatriot Gaurav Ghei emerged the best Indian in the season-ending Asian Tour event in Bangkok on Thursday.
Birdies eluded an out-of-practice Jeev as he stumbled thrice at the third, fourth and sixth holes in his front nine and took the turn at three-over.
Things were no different on his backward journey as he dropped another bogey at the 15th hole to slip down the rung.
In contrast, Ghei had a rollercoaster ride as he dropped as many as five birdies against three bogeys to card a two-under 70 to be tied eighth.
Ghei started off well, sinking a birdie in the second but stumbled in the next before following it up with a birdie brace to take the turn at two-under.
On resumption, his two birdies in his 13th and 17th hole were negated by bogeys on the 11th and 18th hole.
Compatriots SSP Chowrasia and Shiv Kapur carded an identical one-under 71 to lie tied 14th while senior pro Jyoti Randhawa was tied 41st with a card of one-over 73.
Among other Indians in the fray, amateur golfer Rashid Khan (72), who got an invitation at the last moment, carded an even-par 72 to share the 22nd spot with Gaganjeet Bhullar (72), who qualified for the event riding on his good show at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open.
Further three strokes down is Digvijay Singh (75) at tied 56 while last-minute inclusion Rahul Bakshi (76) shared tied 65th spot with Jeev.
At the top, Australian Neven Basic blasted a six-under 66 to grab the lead while Lin Wen-tang (68) of Chinese Taipei and Adam Blyth of Australia were two strokes behind.
Leading first round scores:
66 - Neven Basic (AUS)
68 - Adam Blyth (AUS), Lin Wen-tang (TPE)
69 - Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA), Tony Carolan (AUS), Mrcus Both (AUS), Lm Chih Bing (SIN)
70 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI), Andrew Dodt (AUS), Gavin Flint (AUS), Mitchell Brown (AUS), Mardan Mamat (SIN), Gaurav Ghei (IND)
71 - Danny Chia (MAS), Dinesh Chand (FIJ), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Shiv Kapur (IND), Chawalit Plaphol (THA), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND)
72 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Rick Kulacz (AUS), Wang Ter-chang (TPE), David Bransdon (AUS), Rashid Khan [A] (IND), Juvic Pagunsan (PHI), Chris Rodgers (ENG), Rhys Davies (WAL).