Dongguan: Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh was hopeful his tinkering with putters will reap the rewards after battling to a level par 72 on the first day of the US$7 million WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.
The double Asian Tour number one has used three different putters in as many weeks but it has yet to see him striking it hot after shooting only two birdies against two bogeys at the Mission Hills Golf Club’s Olazabal course to end the day in tied 34th place.
“I hit the ball really well. Just trying to get my short game going. I’ve changed my putter last three weeks three times. I’ll just have to make sure I’ve got the right one. I’ve got to work on it mentally and build up on the trust,” said Singh, who won the Scottish Open in July.
Singh has tried the longer putters but did not feel comfortable enough with it to keep it in his golf bag. “I’ve not gone to the long putter. I’m much better off with this putter and feel more comfortable. I can’t get the feel with the long one,” he said.
“I’m going back to putting green … I’ve been working quite hard. It’s just about the trust.”
The positive aspect for the widely-travelled Singh is his ball striking has remained solid. “I’m pretty happy with the game. Hopefully, I get it right on one of these weeks (with the putter). Otherwise, hitting the ball well and everything else is good. Just need to sharpen the short game.
“There is a score out there and the par fives are reachable. There are some good flags out there and the winds are swirling. It’s a good test of golf. I’ve been pretty solid. Most of the rounds, I’ve been under par. I just need a low one.”
Without his regular caddie, Janet Squire, on the bag, Singh kept burning the edges of the cup to end the day seven shots back of co-leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott. But he remains patient and reckons the birdies will soon drop.
“It all comes down to the short stick. I’m hitting the ball well enough to do that,” said Singh.
Countryman Gaganjeet Bhullar, who did not have the privilege of playing a practice round due to his late arrive for the HSBC Champions, struggled to a 73. Like Singh, he failed to convert several birdie opportunities.
“I struggled a bit with my putting. Maybe I wasn’t comfortable reading the lines. I struck the ball good, hit all fairways. I guess today was my first official round on the golf course. At least I have seen where to place the ball and hopefully tomorrow will be better,” said Bhullar, who finished tied 10th in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour event in Malaysia last week.
“On the greens here, you can’t miss on the wrong side of the hole and I struggled with that. Tomorrow, I’ll need to work on that.”
By Indian Sports News Network