Paris:Jeev Milkha Singh had another excellent start with a three-under 68 that included three birdies over a four-hole stretch on his second nine in the first round of the Open de France Alstom at the Le Golf National on Thursday. Jeev was two behind the early leader Oliver Fisher (66) who went out in the first group in the morning and just one behind the 2007 US Open champion Argentine Angel Cabrera (67) with whom Jeev played the first round.
Jeev, hoping to squeeze into the British Open with some late results, could well earn a trip to the year's third Major at the Royal Birkdale with a win or even a top-3 finish here this week. Jeev was lying fourth but could move down if the conditions in the afternoon are as good as in the morning, when there was only slight wind and low humidity.
Jyoti Randhawa opened with a one-under 71 but Shiv Kapur ran into rough weather with four-over 75 which will add pressure on him to produce a low round to make the cut. The fourth Indian in the field, S.S.P. Chowrasia had opened with two pars and as he started play only in the afternoon.
The event, which carries a purse of four million Euros, features the top four in the current Order of Merit on European Tour. While four ranked Oliver Fisher took the early lead with a 66, others were Miguel Angel Jimenez, ranked first, Robert Karlssson and Lee Westwood, who has had top-four finishes in his last four starts, including the US Open.
Ranked 11th on the European Order of Merit, Jeev, winner of the Bank Austria Open two weeks ago, missed the cut last week at the BMW Championships in Munich. He opened with a birdie on tenth but dropped an expensive double bogey on the 12th.
Fisher took the early lead with a flawless five-under 66 and he was followed by Cabrera, who in one six-hole stretch from 13th to 18th had five birdies and a double bogey.