New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) Title contender Gaurav Ghei and promising Chandigarh pro Gurbaaz Maan carded identical six under par 66 opening round to be the joint leaders with four others in the 500,000-dollar Hero Honda Indian Open Golf here today.
The four other joint leaders are Danny Chia (Malaysia), David Gleeson, Korea's Hur In-hoi and Thailand's Chapchai Nirat.
Defending champion Jyoti Randhawa had a two under par 70 round and was placed at joint 23rd slot at the end of day one.
On a day of mixed fortunes for the Indians, star attraction Jeev Milkha Singh disappointed as he returned par 72 round to be at joint 52nd place on the leaderboard.
Three other unassuming Indians, Ashok Kumar, SSP Chowrasia and Shamim Khan played well as the three returned identical rounds of 68 and were at joint seventh slot along with amateur Jasjeet Singh.
Thirtynine-year-old Ghei was off to a blistering start as he fired an eagle to start his campaign.
''I hit a good drive on 18 and was in the middle of the fairway.
I had a four iron to the green and I did not make birdie. I sort of let off a little steam with the tee shot on the first hole and then hit a three iron to 12 feet and canned that,'' Ghei said about the eagle and added ''I am satisfied with my showing in the first round.'' The Delhi pro had a bogey-free round in which he shot six brdies.
Mann's performance was a pleasant surprise. He had four birdies on his way out and coming back had three birdies and a bogey to finish the day as a joint leader.
''It was a good round,'' said Maan, but added ''I left couple of putt shot, I will have to shape shots''.
Fancied Jeev looked a bit sluggish as he struggled before finishing with a par round.
In his first nine, Jeev had two bogeys which saw him finish with two over par but he steadied himself on the return journey in which he hit three birdies while missing a shot to end with two under 34 to aggregate par 72.
''I hit the ball well but did not putt well,'' said Jeev after his round. ''I have no excuse to offer, the course is playing well but I missed lot of birdies.'' Crowd favourite Jyoti Randhawa looked like under some sort of pressure as he ended with a modest round of two under 70.
The defending champion had two birdies on his way out but coming back he missed a shot immediately after hitting a birdie to neutralize the advantage.
Jyoti has another Indian -- Uttam Mundy -- to give him company at his slot after first round.
Pakistan's Munir Muhammed had a satisfying day as he came up with a three under par 69 score and was at the joint 14th place with Chirag Kumar, Moe Zaw (Myanmar), Rahul Ganapathy and Thailand's A Prathummanee.