Calcutta: Jeev Milkha Singh’s much awaited return to the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour ended in disappointment when he was knocked out in the opening round of the Rs 10-lakh SRF Matchplay championship at the Delhi Golf Club Tuesday.
According to information received here, a visibly-ill second seed lost to the 63rd seed local boy Prem on the final hole to set the tone of the only matchplay event on the tour.
Also shown the exit door was the reigning Order of Merit leader, Mukesh Kumar, who lost to the 62nd seed Hem Chand in the first playoff hole. Among the other big names, 15th seed Shamim Khan was upset by the 50th ranked Manohar Dike of Mumbai, also on 18th hole.
Top seed Arjun Atwal registered an easy 6&5 victory over Romit Bose to advance to the second round from IS Malik bracket, while fourth seed Digvijay Singh won by similar margin against KS Sibia in the RK Pitambar bracket.
No. 5 Vijay Kumar beat Akbar Ali 4&3, No 6 Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia was an easy 6&4 winner over Mohd Maqbool, while No. 7 Amandeep Johl won by the same margin over Tarun Sardesai. Last year’s surprise packet, Suleiman Ali, could not repeat his giant-killing act and lost 4&3 to No. 8 Arjun Singh. Ninth seed Gaurav Ghei won against K.P. S. Sekhon, while defending champion Shiv Prakash advanced beating Dinesh Kumar 1-up. Jeev, who was playing with infected ear that was hampering his balance while swinging and running a 101 degree temperature, lost the opening two holes to birdies by Prem and never managed to catch his rival. Despite finishing with birdies on the 17th and 18th, Jeev lost on the final hole when Prem hit a magnificent third shot to less than two feet and answered with a birdie himself.
Mukesh, winner of ten titles on the Hero Honda Golf Tour this season, lost to a birdie by Hem Chand on the first playoff hole.
Mukesh, who was two-up after 12 holes, lost the 13th and 16th to get into the playoff.