Gurgaon, Feb 17 (PTI) Senior pro Jeev Milkha Singh andyoung golfer Rashid Khan led the Indian challenge with amatching four-under 68 in the truncated opening day of theEuros 1.8 million Avantha Masters here today.
On a day, when heavy fog delayed the start by three and ahalf hours and then play was suspended leaving 66 players yetto complete their first round, Dutchman Robert Jan Derksen ledthe field with a error-free 66.He was followed by a group of three of whom only two hadfinished their round. Mark Foster of England, who has not wonfor last eight years, and Julio Zapata of Argentina shot 67each while Darren Beck, also at five-under, had five moreholes to play.
Jeev and Rashid shared the third spot with six others,which included three-time Asian Tour winner Chapchai Nirat ofThailand, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, last year''s runner-upRichard Finch of England and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay.
A total of 66 players have yet to complete the firstround and will resume at 7.15am local time tomorrow.
While Derksen led the field, another Dutchman MaartenLafeber had a hole in one at the par three 11th to win a VolvoXC 60 for his ace.
He had four birdies on the front nine and was six-underafter 11, but three bogeys in next seven holes saw him end at69 in tied 11th with seven others, including India''s SujjanSingh.
"I''ve got a bet with my caddie that if we win this weekwe''ll take the trophy to the Taj Mahal but I need to win firstof course," said the 37 year old.
"I''ve never been and I think this is a great occasion tomake that happen."
Still looking for his first international win at home,Jeev opened his campaign remarkably despite still nursing aback injury and being hit with a two-shot penalty forinfringing a local rule on the par-four 13th.
The 39-year-old Indian got off well with a birdie on thepar-three 11th but got into trouble on the 13th hole. He hadanother double bogey on 15th. But he also had six birdies anda brilliant eagle from a 45-footer on the closing ninth for a68 at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
"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 having overlooked that particularclause in the local rules, I went on to play my second shotfrom the spot where the ball had landed after rebounding offthe pole. That error cost me a two-stroke penalty," said Jeevof his costly mistake, which eventually resulted in a doublebogey. .