An eight under par 63 Thursday did not only give Jeev Milkha Singh the lowest round of his career but has also given him the lead in the Irish Open and put well-known golfers like Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke in the shade.
The 39-year-old Singh, who is a former Olympic sprinter’s son, got six strokes better when he hit six birdies and an eagle, compared to British Open winner Clarke. His stroke was seven better than the ones made by US Open champion McIlroy and nine better than McDowell who was the US Open winner last year.
“I don’t know whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, but 59 did cross my mind,” said the three-time European Tour winner Singh.
Clarke, who was on his first outing since his victory at the British Open in Sandwich two weeks ago, said he was disappointed with his round.
“I didn’t come here to make up the numbers,” said the 42-year-old. “I hit a lot of good shots and had lots of chances, but didn’t quite have the speed of the greens.”
McIlroy did not perform well at the British Open but had mixed fortunes here with a one under 70. He may have had a disappointing performance at the Sandwich but he bounced back with four birdied in the first ten holes, only to mar that with a bogey and a closing double bogey.
“At four under through 10, things were going along quite nicely, but I didn’t drive it great all day and I played some scrappy golf coming in,” he reflected.
“My driving caught up with me at the end. I just need to be more decisive on the tees — I was stuck in two minds.”
“All I was trying to do was get it in the front bunker.”