Carnoustie (Britain) : Returning to Carnoustie, where he missed his first cut in a Major at this year’s British Open, Jeev Milkha Singh landed a stunning eagle on the par-5 14th hole to ensure a great finish with a five-under 67 in the first round of the star-studded Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.
Jeev, who had five birdies and an eagle, also dropped two bogeys in his fine round that placed him sixth and just two off the lead held by Steve Webster, whose 65 also came on Carnoustie.
Jyoti Randhawa, who will next week defend his Hero Honda Indian Open title in Delhi, shot four-under 68, also at Carnoustie and was lying tied 16th. Shiv Kapur playing on St. Andrews did not have a great day, shooting two-over 74 and he was 127th.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played on three courses, Carnoustie, Kingbarns and St. Andrews and the final round is again played at St. Andrews.
Jeev had birdies on third, fifth and seventh and he was three-under, when a bogey on eighth saw him fall back. A great stretch from 12th to 14th, where he had two birdies and an eagle saw him jump to six-under. But a bogey on 16th saw him finish at five under.
“It sure was enjoyable knocking those birdies in. I felt good,” said Jeev.
Webster, the 32-year-old Englishman, has not played for five weeks due to back trouble but he put all that behind him when a fine seven under par 65 gave him a one shot lead over four players – South African Hennie Otto and Australian Scott Strange, who both posted their scores like Webster at Carnoustie, and Dane Søren Hansen and Paul Lawrie of Scotland, who carded their 66s at St. Andrews.
Webster’s start to the round was explosive with birdies at each of the first three holes, sinking putts from 20, five and 15 feet respectively. The winner of the 2005 Telecom Italia Open was still three under par through 11 holes but produced a fine finish with four birdies in the last seven holes.
South African Otto had two dropped shot but eight birdies in his excellent 66 on the Championship Course but it was nothing to the extraordinary run of 10 holes Scott Strange put together from the eighth hole, the Australian only recording one par figure – at the 10th – the other nine holes featuring three bogeys and six birdies.