Tokyo:India's Jeev Milkha Singh made a solid start in his defence of the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup at the Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club.
Jeev, who has played only limited events in Japan this year, shot a one-under 69 and was tied third after the opening round. Jeev trails leader Shingo Katayama by three shots.
Jeev, who has slid from 37th to 80th in world rankings in 2007, had a very modest season with just one top-10 finish.
The Golf Nippon Series JT Cup is the final event on the Japan tour and is for the top golfers on the Order of Merit and a few invited players. Like last year the field this year also has 27 players including one amateur.
Invited as the defending champion despite not figuring on the Japan Tour Order of Merit, Jeev shot a birdie on the first hole.
He was in the first group in the morning alongside talented amateur Ryo Ishikawa, who also shot a 69.
After the first birdie, Jeev gave that back with a bogey on fourth to turn in even par. He had another bogey on 10th. Birdies on 12th and 14th brought him back under par.
The roller-coaster ride continued as he dropped a bogey on 16th but got a birdie on 17th to finish at one-under 69.
On a windy day, Jeev did well to get to 72 percent greens in regulation, but needed 29 putts.
Last year Jeev shot rounds of 67, 65, 67 and 70 to win the title by one shot and pocket a cheque of 30 million Yen (about $272,998).