Jeev falls back after good start

June 20th, 2009 - 12:44 am ICT by IANS  

Tiger Woods By V. Krishnaswamy
Farmingdale (US), June 19 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh, smarting under the rough start he had on a rainy first day, seemed to have left the dirt track and found sunnier pastures. But one bad hole did him in as he finished with a disastrous eight-over 78 in the 109th US Open where the first round was on Friday.

Jeev returned Friday morning to Bethpage and seemed on way to repairing his scorecard well with birdies on the first two holes on resumption. But it lasted only a while, as Jeev, five-over after eight holes on Thursday, finally finished the first round with a crushing eight-over at the par-70 Bethpage Black.

Even as Jeev struggled to a 78, and some others like Tiger Woods also dropped to 74 - he was four-over for last four holes of his first round on Friday morning - but many others benefitted from the fine weather. Many who started on Friday were in red numbers at under-par. David Toms and last year’s runner-up Rocco Mediate were among those at two-under after the early holes.

Toms had played eight and Mediate six holes. Anthony Kim birdied three in a row from 13th to 15th and was two-under through seven holes after starting on 10th.

Jeev, placed in the middle of the ninth fairway when play was called off on Thursday, found two successive birdies - on the ninth he rolled in a monstrous 30-footer birdie and then nearly holed his second shot from 205 yards in the par-4 tenth.

What undid Jeev was the disastrous triple bogey on the 12th hole. “I was in the greenside bunker, but after the rain the sand was hard and I skulled the ball. Then I duffed the next shot and after chipping I two-putted for a seven on the par-4 hole,” said a disappointed Jeev.

“I seemed to have found the momentum with two birdies, both good ones on ninth and 10th. I nearly holed the 10th, a five-wood from 205 yards. It was barely a few inches off the cup,” he added.

Talking of his round, Jeev said, “The conditions of the first day did me in. I am playing well, though a little tentative because of the muscle injury, but I did not feel any discomfort today.”

On the draw Jeev, who made his Major debut here in 2002, added, “I enjoyed the three-ball with Vijay (Singh) and KJ (Choi) but the luck of the draw was against us. It was terrible weather yesterday (Thursday) and great today. So the guys who go out and play first round today are lucky. And tomorrow (Saturday) when we play the second round, the forecast is again rains and thunder storm. Well that’s luck of the draw and golf.”

On Thursday, the US Open had one of its wettest starts in recent years as heavy rain forced a suspension of play in mid-morning, with no player having gone beyond the 13th hole in the first round at the treacherous Bethpage Black course here.

The heavy rains resulted in water-logging on Thursday at some of the greens and officials brought in no less than 90 squeegees to soak them and clean the greens.

One of the worst hit holes was the finishing par-four 18th, which had some water on the fairway even on Friday.

The last time the US Open went into a Monday was in 1983, when Larry Nelson won at Oakmont. The USGA has made it clear that they will finish 72 holes and will not employ the “Lift, clean and play” rule, also termed as ‘Preferred Lies” despite the weather being bad and mud getting stuck onto the ball on Thursday.

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