Jeev tied 2nd after first round at BMW Asian Open

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Shanghai, Apr 24 (UNI) Indian pro Jeev Milkha Singh wielded a hot putter firing four under par 68 to be at tied second on the opening day as he launched another title assault at the 2.3 million dollars BMW Asian Open Golf here today.

Australia's Peter O'Malley with a fine five under 67 emerged the sole leader at the end of the first round.

Jeev, the 2006 Asian Tour number one, needed only 23 putts at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club to share the tied second spot honours with Henrik Stenson of Sweden, England's Oliver Wilson and Mikko Ilonen of Finland.

Jeev's compatriot Shiv Kapur with one under 71 was at joint 14th place while Indian Masters' winner SSP Chowrasia was at joint 35th slot with a par 72 round.

However, five other Indians in the fray, Rahil Gangjee, Gaurav Ghei, Digvijay Singh Jyoti Randhawa and Amandeep Johl had a poor opening round and they were all langushing way down the leaderboard.

Tenacious Jeev, fresh from his best Major finish at the Masters Tournament where he tied for 25th position two weeks ago, struggled to find the mark with his ball striking after taking last week off but made up with an outstanding putting display.

''I didn't hit the ball good today but my putting was excellent.

Last week was an off week and I didn't practice much and it showed up today. However, I would prefer good putting to ball striking on any day. It's a good feeling when you can get the ball into the hole,'' said Jeev.

He fired five birdies and dropped a stroke in this round.

This season, the Indian star has posted two runner-up outings in Indonesia and Korea and believes he has a chance of securing Asia's first victory in the BMW Asian Open.

''I love this golf course. You've got to have strong management and I did that today. You have to drive it well here and I have been driving it well. That's why I was comfortable and it suits me,'' he said.

While delighted with his Masters experience, Jeev said he needed to adjust quickly to the speed of the greens at the par-72.

''Yesterday, I putted a lot as I was trying to get the speed in my hands. I felt the greens were slow compared to Augusta,'' he said.

Shiv Kapur had two birdies on the 6th and 9th but he hit a bogey on the 16th to end the day with one under 71, while Chowrsia had five birdies but he neutralised that advantage by droppping same number of strokes to finish the day at par 72.

Rahil Gangjee fired a card of one over 73 for 51st place, while Ghei and Digvijay returned identical cards of two over 74 and were at joint 71st place.

Favourite Jyoti Randhawa had a disastrous round as he came up with three over 75 to be at lowly 97th slot while Amandeep hit six over 78 and was at 38th place.

World number 13 Stenson lived up to his top billing with a six-birdie round, giving himself a chance of redemption following a play-off loss at the 2006 BMW Asian Open.

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