Singh's poor finish allows Khan chance to be local hero

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The Independent Online

The local favourite Jeev Milkha Singh and the world No 5 Adam Scott dropped strokes late in their rounds to leave a pair of unheralded players at the top of the leader board after the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Classic here yesterday.

Singh bogeyed two of the last three holes while Scott made a double-bogey at the 16th, leaving them on four-under-par 68s, one shot behind the co-leaders Shamim Khan of India and Daniel Vancsik of Argentina.

Wearing a shiny gold creation from his own range of sportswear, Ian Poulter left himself with plenty of work to do to survive the cut after a four-over 76 that featured three double-bogeys. "I shot 11 pars, three birdies and unfortunately, I shot four over par," an annoyed Poulter said. "That's golf."

Singh appeared in good shape after picking up his sixth birdie at the 15th to move into sole possession of the lead on six under. But the Indian missed a short putt at the next to drop his first shot of the day and bogeyed the 17th as well after putting his second shot into the water hazard.

He could still have drawn level with Khan and Vancsik with a birdie at the par-five 18 but had to settle for par after finding a bunker with his second shot.

The world No 11 Vijay Singh was within striking distance after three birdies on his back nine to finish at two-under while Colin Montgomerie was at two over after an up-and-down round that featured two birdies and four bogeys.

Scott was handily placed at five under with three holes to play when he dropped his only strokes of the day by putting his tee shot at the par-three 16th into the water.

However, the Australian recovered with a birdie at the next to secure a tie for third place. "I'm very pleased with how I played today," Scott said. "I played very well and had one poor shot, but I don't think that it really spoilt the round."