Jeev shows some sparks; Khalin best placed Indian at China Open

Former Volvo China Open champion Jeev Milkha Singh seem to have turned the clock for a while as he was three-under through 16 holes in the first round of the 25th Volvo China Open.

However, he then double bogeyed the 18th to finish one-under 71 and was Tied-69th at the end of the first day.

Meanwhile, the best Indian on day one was Khalin Joshi, who had a great start at three-under through first five holes. He also ended at three-under despite three bogeys after that.

After birdies on 10th, 13th and 14th, he dropped 16th and 18th to turn in one-under 35. He birdied first but bogeyed fourth. Then he birdied seventh and ninth to finish with 69 and was T-33rd.

Among other Indians Shiv Kapur (70) was T-46th, while Gaganjeet Bhullar, SSP Chawrasia and Jeev shot 71 each to be T-69th. Ajeetesh Sandhu (74) and Viraj Madappa (76) were T-117 and T-141.

Jeev, starting from the first, birdied third but dropped shots on fourth and sixth.

A hat-trick of birdies from seventh to ninth saw him turn two-under. Another birdie on 13th saw him get to three-under, before the double on 18th.

American David Lipsky together with Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen took charge of the first round by carding matching seven-under-par 65s to set the early pace.

Coming off a fifth place finish in Morocco last week, Lipsky, the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, continued his good form at the Genzon Golf Club by marking his card with eight birdies and one bogey for a slender one-advantage over compatriot John Catlin as well as China’s Wu Ashun and Jin Daxing.

Catlin, who was one of the breakout stars on the Asian Tour in 2018, enjoyed a bogey-free round 66 to start promisingly.

Jin and Wu delighted the home crowd when they emerged as the highest placed Chinese after day one when they both traded seven birdies against one bogey to stay in the title hunt.

Given a clean bill of health now, Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena fought his way back from a back injury by signing for a 65 to be bunched in tied-sixth place which was also included Malaysia’s Gavin Green and China’s Li Haotong.

Sweden’s Alexander Bjork opened his title defence of the Volvo China Open by posting a 70 to trail the leaders by five shots in a share of 46th place.