Digvijay, Chowrasia tied ninth in Singapore Open golf

November 14th, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by IANS  

Singapore, Nov 14 (IANS) Digvijay Singh and S.S.P. Chowrasia were the best among Indians in the first round of the Singapore Open golf that was completed Friday morning. Both negotiated their first round in one-under 70 each to be placed tied ninth, as South African Ernie Els took himself atop the leaderboard at the $5 million Barclays Singapore Open after completing his first round in five-under-par 66.

Jeev Milkha Singh lying at four-over after 17 holes, hauled himself back into the race with a brilliant eagle in the 18th. “That was a life-saver,” said Jeev smiling after the round. He finished at two-over 73.

Digvijay must be a disappointed man as he moved to four-under with a birdie on the fourth, his second hole this morning after having played 11 on first day. But then he dropped three shots between the fifth and eighth and came down to one-under and tied ninth.

Jeev, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Arjun Singh were tied 45th at two-over, while Shiv Kapur ended the first day at 74 in tied 64th as did Amandeep Johl and Gaurav Ghei.

Jyoti Randhawa shot 75 in tied 87th place, leaving a lot of work for second round to make the cut. Himmat Rai and Arjun Atwal shot 76 each in 107th place and Rahil Gangjee (78) was 136th and further down was Anirban Lahiri (80) in 142nd.

Els, three-time Major champion, known as the Big Easy, birdied two of his remaining four holes at Sentosa Golf Club to surge past clubhouse leader Lam Chih Bing, who carded a 67 Thursday.

England’s Nick Redfern, a qualifier, was tied fourth with a 69 alongside Korea’s Kim Kyung-tae, Sweden’s Daniel Chopra and England’s Simon Dyson.

Els, who returned to the course at 7.30am along with half the field due to a two-hour weather delay Thursday, birdied his 16th and 18th holes and declared himself pleased with his start.

“I’m pleased with that. I putted nicely and hit the ball okay. It’s not an easy course. If you miss shots, you’ll pay the price. I felt comfortable with the swing and I’m pretty pleased with the start,” said Els.

The laidback South African is on a mission to redeem himself in the Asian Tour’s flagship tournament as he missed the cut here last year. He also finished runner-up behind Adam Scott in 2006.

He recharged his batteries with a month-long break and a victory at the King Hassan II Trophy in Morocco last week only seemed to have give him an added boost in his quest for a win in Sentosa.

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