Augusta (Georgia):Playing partner Tiger Woods' comforting words calmed his nerves as Jeev Milkha Singh regained his composure to card a one-under 71 for a share of the 28th spot after the opening round of the Masters golf tournament here.
With large crowds following his group, Jeev conceded he was nervous playing with 14-time major winner Woods and Stewart Cink before a little help from the iconic American and Jeev's own solid play helped him settle down.
"It was tough when I was starting out and you're a little nervous. But after that it was fine. Tiger was very nice and made me comfortable," Jeev said.
"I'll try to better the score tomorrow and see what comes my way," said the Indian.
Jeev began on a strong note, with a flawless front nine where he birdied the sixth hole from five feet. Things went little haywire on his way back but to his credit, Jeev never let things go beyond his control. His back nine journey began and ended in similar fashion, with a bogey, and he found the greenside trap on the 10th hole.
A glorious three-iron approach set him up for eagle on the par five 13th hole but he failed to build on the momentum, dropping a shot at the next despite having only a nine iron in hand from the middle of the fairway.
After a second birdie on the 17th, a wayward drive left him among the pine trees at the last and Jeev failed to save par from the greenside.
"I shouldn't have gone for the flag on 14. I made a management error there. I was looking at birdie and to move off with a bogey hurts. I got greedy and paid the price," rued Jeev.
Still, the Indian felt, it was not too bad to start with a 71.
"I'm pretty happy with the way I played except for the last which left a bad taste in my mouth," Jeev said.
"Overall, I played pretty good. I made a few mistakes on the back nine but it's just the first day and we'll take it from there," said the Asia number one.
Incidentally, Jeev's round of 71 matched his last year's first round and the affable Indian went on to finish a commendable tied 25th in his second Masters appearance in 2008.
Among Jeev's playing partners, Cink blasted a three-under 69 to lie tied 14th, one shot ahead of Woods who was sharing the 21st place with five others.
American Chad Campbell led by a shot after a superb 65, followed by Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan.