Manila: Digvijay Singh overcame a patchy front nine that included a double bogey to card a one-under 71, which gave him a share of the 14th place at the end of the first round in the USD 300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open at Manila on Thursday.
Digvijay, who has been playing on and off on the Asian Tour for many years, is however without a win.
The course was not playing easy and is very narrow and tight. It has small greens requiring a lot of precision and the greens have slopes. That resulted in a crowded scoreboard as the top 68 players were within five shots of each other.
Digvijay opened with a bogey and then had a double on the fifth, which was followed by a birdie on sixth. He turned in two-over 38, but on the back nine he had three birdies in a row from 10th to 12th and added one more on 16th. In between he dropped a shot on 15th to end at 71.
Of the seven other Indians, none came under par. Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai shot 73 each and were lying tied 33rd, while Chiragh Kumar, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Sujjan Singh carded 74 and were tied 46th. Rahil Gangjee who had one triple and one double carded 75 to be tied 69th and Ajeetesh carded 76 to be 91st.
Unheralded 31-year-old Lu Tze-shyan of Chinese Taipei who has made two cuts in 26 starts scored three-under 69 and shared the lead with Singaporean Mardan Mamat, Japan's Azuma Yano and Americans Matthew Rosenfeld, Ben Fox and Anthony Kang, a former Philippine Open champion, at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club's East course.
Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza, chasing a third Open win, newcomer Charles Hong and Mars Pucay led the local brigade with identical 70s to lie one back with talented Thai Thanyakon Khrongpha and Qualifying School graduates James Byrne of Scotland and Australian Wade Orsmby.
Lu, the nephew of multiple Asian Tour winner Lu Wen-teh, was five-under with four holes to play but dropped two late bogeys to fall back into the joint lead in Asia's oldest national championship.