Calcutta: Looking determined to end a four-year long title drought, Jeev Milkha Singh opened up a two-stroke lead on Thursday, the first day of the $300,000 Hero Honda Masters at the par-72 Delhi Golf Club in New Delhi.
According to information received here, former Indian Open champion Vijay Kumar and Mexican Pablo del Olmo were tied second at four-under 68, while current Order of Merit leader Arjun Atwal was among six tied for the fourth place at three-under 69.
Pre-tournament favourite Jyoti Randhawa started his campaign in the 14th leg of the Asian PGA Tour with a one-under 71. Only 23 players managed to break par as the 122-strong field struggled to come to terms with the new greens and the threatening bushes lining the DGC fairways.
Jeev, who last won in the Lexus International in Thailand in 1999, started with birdie and never looked back. Except for a bogey on the tenth, where his tee shot went into the right bushes, he was consistency personified. He made birdies on the first and eighth — both par-5s — to be two-under at the turn.
The bogey on the tenth was followed by a birdie on the 11th, which was set up by a stupendous 9-iron second shot to less than five feet. He then saved a great par on the par-3 12th before reeling in a birdie on the 13th, where he drained an 18 footer, and an eagle on the par-5 14th, where he hit a brilliant 3-iron second shot from the fairway bunker to eight feet.
Atwal, who can become the first player to earn more than a million dollars on the Asian PGA Tour with a second place here, put himself in position with a 69.