Lytham St Annes (England): A wretched back-nine spoiled Jeev Milkha Singh's card as he failed to hold onto early gains to end the opening round of the British Open with a modest two-under 70, here on Thursday.

With a substantial number of players yet to finish, Jeev was provisionally placed at tied 39th, but could move up as the conditions were less benign than in the morning, when the scores were very good.

India’s other challenger in the Open, debutante Anirban Lahiri was one-under as he started with a birdie on first and then made five pars and had 12 more to play.

Daniel Chopra finished the day three-over 73 at the Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Jeev, who had four birdies on the first, third, ninth and 11th in first 11 holes was three-under at that stage and right on top of the leaderboard, before he gave up two bogeys (12th and 17th) and one double bogey (on the 13th) against one more birdie (14th) in the last seven holes.

Jeev, who got into the Open with a win in the Scottish Open last week. Had five birdies in all against three bogeys and one double.

Jeev was six behind leader, Australian Adam Scott, while 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson and 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie were tied second at 65 each.

Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell and Bubba Watson were all at 67. Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Japan Toshinori Muto were four-under with five holes each to play.

"I played really well the first 11 holes. The 13th hole was the hole that got me. I hit a bad (tee) shot, and I think I got greedy with it. When you hit it in the rough you need to take your medicine and move on. I made a double (he stayed in the bunker with his second shot in the sand pit) there but came back with a birdie on the next and made some good pars coming in," Jeev said.

Errant play away from the fairways extracted a heavy price as Jeev said, "The rough is tough, for sure. I was in the rough on the last three holes. I was one-under par playing the 16th. I thought I could drive it on for sure. I just pushed the driver a bit too much. And I think if the wind is the same tomorrow or the next three days, I would go for it and see what comes my way and take it from there.”

Jeev was off to a great start with two birdies in the first four holes, which included a 25-footer birdie putt on the first, a chip-in for par on third and a 12-foot birdie on fourth. He then missed 15-footer for birdie on fifth.

On the seventh, the first of the only the two par-fives, Jeev went into the bunker off the tee and then to the left rough.

He did come out alright, but once on the green he missed an up-and-down for par. The big error came on the 13th, where instead of a driver he took a three-wood, as the group was put on the clock for slow play.

Jeev went into the right rough and from there into the bunker, where he had a horrible lie against the steep wall. He failed to get out and then missed a bogey putt, too, for a double.

On the weather Jeev said, "We were very lucky with the weather, honestly. No wind today. I think it's a bonus, and that's why when you have an early tee time, you go out there and try to make the most out of it."

On his putting, he added, "The first hole was like a 25-footer I holed for a birdie. And through the round I holed some long putts including a couple of other 20-footers for birdies and pars. I chipped-in for birdie on No. 4. I made a lot of up-and-downs today, you know, and that's what links golf is."

As the early morning drizzle gave way to great weather with no breeze, the scores were very good in the first session.

A lot of players went really low, but none better than Scott, who at seven-under after 17 had a chance to go to eight-under and set the record for the best round ever at a Major. But he ended with a bogey and a six-under 64.

Els, the 2002 Open winner, one-over after six made a great recovery with two birdies in last three holes for a 67 while 2010 US Open winner, McDowell dropped a shot on 18th in his 67.

Three-time Open winner Woods looked set for a low round at four-under through six holes but then ran out of birdies and dropped a shot on 15th. This year’s Masters winner, Bubba Watson came in with a similar 67.

Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour No. 1, playing his sixth Open, started with a solid 69. He had three birdies against two bogeys.

(Agencies)

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