Jeev at top after first round in Austrian Open

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{image-jeev milkha singh_07062008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Vienna, Jun 7: Ace Indian pro Jeev Milkha Singh staked his claim for the title spot with a scintillating seven-under 64 after the first round at the Bank Austria Golf Open as he shared the six-way lead here.

Jeev had six birdies on the last 10 holes which included four in a row from ninth to 12th yesterday. However, another Indian in the fray, Jyoti Randhawa had a miserable first round with a score of four-over 75 and was languishing at the 114th place needing a solid second round to make the cut. Jeev has had some great starts in the recent past but has failed to finish at the top. This was the third time in last four weeks in Europe that Jeev has had a brilliant start. He opened with a 66 in Irish Open before dropping to 40th and then had a 65 at Celtic Manor Wales Open last week where he finished tied 10th.

The 2006 Asian Tour's Order of Merit winner, Jeev, had birdies on fifth, sixth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th and 18th and his lone blemish for the day was a bogey on seventh.

After the first round, Jeev was sharing lead with local Austrian Martin Wiegele, Australia's Scott Barr, the Swedish duo of Pelle Edberg and Christian Nilsson and Ireland's Gary Murphy.

The event was cut down to 36 holes due to the loss of the entire first day's play on Thursday, coupled with a poor weekend weather forecast.

''I have been playing well and I have been knocking on the door and it has got to open sometime,'' Jeev said after his stunning performance.

''I managed myself pretty well on the golf course and holed quite a few putts on back nine for the 65 and I am very happy.

The golf course is in excellent condition and I drove the ball well,'' he added.

UNI

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