Jeev fights back to shoot four-under 68 on first day

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Infringing on a local rule mayhave cost Jeev Milkha Singh two shots but the Indian golferwas happy with the way he fought back with two birdies and aneagle in last four holes on the fog-hit opening day of theEuro 2.3 million Avantha Masters here today.

The Chandigarh golfer was even par after 14 holes but hefought his way back to finally finish with a four-under 68 atthe DLF Golf and Country Club here.

"That finish brought in a lot of cheer and my son,Harjai, was there to see it," said Jeev, cuddling his son soonafter the round.

With a good number of golfers yet to finish, theclubhouse leader was Robert Jan-Derksen of Denmark, who camein with a six-under 66. Argentine Julio Zapata and Mark Fosterof England were second with a 67 each.

Among those at 68 were Jeev and India''s new young proRashid Khan.

Although Jeev has achieved much success globally, it isstill a home win that has eluded him. Despite nursing a backinjury, the 39-year-old opened his campaign impressively witha four-under-par 68.

"My iron-play was great today and I was feeling good onthe putts. The course is in excellent shape but the conditionswere a little tricky due to the wind," said Jeev, who markedhis card with six birdies, one eagle and two double-bogeys.

"I started off well with a 30 feet birdie putt on the11th. I then ran into some trouble on the 13th where my drivehit the floodlight tower. I should''ve replayed that stroke asper the local rules but I obviously did not pay attention andoverlooked that particular clause in the local rules.

"I went on to play my second shot from the spot where theball had landed after rebounding off the pole. That error costme a two-stroke penalty," he explained.

Jeev was penalised for knowing that he had hit floodlightunit and yet playing the next shot from the spot where theball landed. The referee then told him to go back and play thetee shot again, as the local rules demand, but he stillincurred a two-shot penalty.

"The two-stroke penalty acted as a trigger for me toraise my game. At that point I decided to focus really hardand make the most of my opportunities. I hit it really wellfrom there on. I closed the round on a high as I converted amonstrous 45 feet eagle putt on the ninth," Jeev said. MOREPTI Cor ATK

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