Poor putting at the end of the round robbed Jeev Milkha Singh the chance to take sole lead at the end of the first round of Sun Chlorella Classic, at the Otaru Country Golf Club, in Hokkaido, Japan, on Thursday.
Jeev Milkha Singh, having his finest season in Japan with six top-10 finishes in eight starts, carded a one-under 71 at the par-72 course and was tied ninth, but just one shot off the eight-way lead at two-under.
The golf course, playing very tough on the opening, yielded just 20 under-par scores, the best being two-under by eight players -- Koumei Oda, Takenori Hiraishi, Hisayuki Sasaki, Liang Wen Chong, Kim Jong Duck, Masayoshi Yamazoe, Shigeru Nonaka and Hideto Tanihara.
Jeev was in tied ninth place with 11 others, including the in-form SK Ho, who lost a play-off two weeks back, Lin Keng-chi and Scott Laycock.
Jeev started with a bogey because of a three-putt, but recovered with a birdie on sixth and turned in even par. Birdies on tenth, 13th and 14th put him three-under. He bogeyed the 16th and then three-putted the 17th for another bogey and ended one-under.
His problem today was putting, as he needed 32 putts for his round.
Jeev, who has been close to winning on many occasions this season in Japan, said, "As long as I am contending, I know I can pull it off any week."
With six top-10 finishes, including the last four in succession, is now 19th on Japan Money List.
Only four players above him on the Money List have not won at least one tournament this year.