Hyogo, Japan: Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh carded a 67 to finish 11th in the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open here on Thursday.
Japan's Yuta Ikeda put himself in a strong position to end a string of runner-up finishes as he shot a sensational nine-under-par 62.
Ikeda, a nine-time winner in Japan, opened up a two-shot lead over veteran golfer Hiroyuki Fujita, a two-time Asian Tour winner, Yusaku Miyazato, who finished tied 20th at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, Katsumasa Miyamoto, Koumei Oda and Kazuhiro Yamashita at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines and Thailand's Chinnarat Phadungsil alongwith Jeev carded matching 67s for 11th place at the US $1.9 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Jeev, playing with an injured finger, was accompanied by his father Milkha Singh and wife who cheered him on over 18 holes.
"My finger hurt a bit because the rough is thick but I can manage. I'm putting a lot of balm and doing other stuff to make sure it does not swell," added Singh, who won the Scottish Open in July.
Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan started his title defence with a 68 and was bunched up with Thailand's Prom Meesawat and Prayad Marksaeng, Kieran Pratt of Australia, Berry Henson of the United States, Australian Darren Beck, Shiv Kapur of India and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden.
Leading first round scores:
62 - Yuta Ikeda (JPN)
64 - Katsumasa Miyamoto (JPN), Koumei Oda (JPN), Yusaku Miyazato (JPN), Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN), Kazuhiro Yamashita (JPN)
65 - Kim Do-hoon (752) (KOR)
66 - Tomohiro Kondo (JPN), Masamichi Uehira (JPN), Shigeru Nonaka (JPN).
67 - Hiroo Kawai (JPN), Chinnarat Pdhadungsil (THA), Ryuichi Oda (JPN), Juvic Pagunsan (PHI), KT Kim (KOR), Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Hideto Tanihara (JPN), Toru Taniguchi (JPN), Daisuke Kataoka (JPN), Lee Seong-ho (KOR), Cameron Smoth (AUS), Shiv Kapur (IND), Hwang Jung-gon (KOR), Wu Ashun (CHN), Hidemasa Hoshino (JPN).
68 - Prom Meesawat (THA), Prayad Marksaeng (THA), Lee Dong-hwan (KOR), Kieran Pratt (AUS), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN), Michio Matsumura (JPN), Berry Henson (USA), IJ Jang (KOR), Darren Beck (AUS), Tjaart van Der Walt (RSA), SK Ho (KOR), Rikard Karlberg (SWE), Yoshinobu Tsukada (JPN), Yoshikazu Haku (JPN), Chan Yih-shin (TPE).