Shanghai : Jeev Milkha Singh overcame the wet and cold conditions with a two-under 70 in the opening round of the US$5 million HSBC Champions Thursday.
Jeev was tied for 24th, while the second Indian in the field S.S.P. Chowrasia was tied 65th with a four-over 76.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson set the early pace when he fired an opening seven-under-par 65 to take the first round lead.
The 32-year-old Swede nailed six birdies and one eagle against a lone bogey to take a slender one shot lead over tournament marquee names that include defending champion Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim from the United States, Australia’s Adam Scott and current world number three, Sergio Garcia from Spain. They are all bunched together in tied-second after posting matching 66s at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
Jeev, who opened with a bogey but quickly struck a birdie on the second, turned in even par with seven other holes. On the back nine, he birdied the 12th and 13th and closed the round with another one on 18th. In between he dropped a shot on the 16th.
Chowrasia was steady on the front nine with one each of birdie and a bogey. On the back nine he had three bogeys and one double bogey and just one birdie for his 76.
Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng was Asia’s best contender, returning with a 68 to take a share of eighth place while Malaysia’s fast-rising star, Ben Leong and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang are among the mix in tied-14th after recording 69.
The day began for Stenson not in the most ideal way when he dropped a shot at the opening 459-yards par-four one. However, that opening blemish only halted his charge momentarily.
The Swede got his game going when he sank an eagle on the second, followed by three successive birdies starting from the third and another one on the eighth before reaching the turn at five-under.
Hua Hin based Thai star, Prayad was among the early contenders when he started off his round impressively with four birdies on his opening back-nine to make the turn in 32.
However, a double bogey after the turn on the 362-yard par four three followed by another bogey on the seventh spoilt his card.
Two-time Major winner this year, Padraig Harrington from Ireland is also in tied-14th place together with Leong on 69.