On-song Singh pursues his dream
India's Jeev Milkha Singh was in upbeat mood after ending Thursday's first round at the U.S. Masters three shots off the early pace.
The Chandigarh native, who became the first Indian to play at Augusta National Golf Club last year in the opening major of the season, birdied three of the four par-fives on his way to a one-under-par 71.
"I drove the ball very well and hit it to the right places," the 36-year-old told reporters. "A few mistakes I think you're allowed on this course and I'm pretty pleased with my round.
"I had a few chances but these greens are tough. You can't be too aggressive out there. I left some (putts) short but I'm still happy with one under par today."
Singh, who tied for 37th on his Masters debut last year, set the tone for a solid round by rolling in a 20-footer to save par on the opening hole.
"That got me going," said the 2006 Asian Tour number one, who mixed four birdies with three bogeys on a soft Augusta layout playing extra long.
"When you get invited to one of the best majors, for me personally, you get a jump start. I'm happy to be here. After that, I was playing well and things fell in place for me."
Singh, who has set his sights on achieving a childhood fantasy by becoming the first Asian man to clinch a major title, outscored his two high-profile playing partners in the opening round.
British Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland carded a 74 and Canada's Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters, a 73.
"It's the best score in five rounds for me here at Augusta National," Singh said.
"Under par on this course is always good. I'll try to do the same tomorrow and maintain my process and routine."
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April 10, 2008