Jeev Milkha Singh (Getty Images)
Jeev Milkha Singh leads the first round of the first Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953, shooting a marvelous round of -7 under par, 65 at a wet and windy Royal Portrush golf course. The weather did not stop eager fans turning out in huge numbers to see their home town hero’s, but they were treated to a special round of golf from the Indian player. Jeev was certainly not complaining about the number following him as he set the pace. Before he teed off Daren Clark had presented him with a bottle of Bushmills single malt whiskey. Jeev was not used to links golf, but it did not show during hiss opening round;
“Growing up, I never played a links golf course. The first time I played a links golf course was when I came for the Open Qualifying, it must have been about 20 years ago, and I enjoyed every bit of it,even though it was really tough. I thought, how can you play courses like this, in these conditions? It’s so tough! but now I just love it. I love links golf, you have to hit a lot of low shots and you have to have a lot of imagination. I think a lot of feel and imagination is required, and that’s what I love about links golf. The atmosphere and the feel to the golf course is just fantastic. It looks and feels just great.”
Jeev was really appreciative of Darren’s gift to him;
“Darren presented me with a 21 year old Bushmills single malt, which was very gracious of him. I like to have some whiskey once in a while, especially with my father on Sunday nights. He likes it as well. So I’ll sit down with him after the tournament, have a nice chat and have a drink with him. I really enjoy doing that.”
There are fout players tied in second place at -6 under par, they are; Gregory Bourdy, Mark Foster, Mathew Zions and Andrew Marshall.
The best Irish player on the day was Padraig Harrington whose good round of -5 under par, 67, got him into tied for 7th place. Rory McIlroy had a quieter day finishing with a -2 under par, 70 for his first round. Graeme McDowell and Darren Clark both had -1 under par 71 opening efforts.
Last weeks winner Danny Willett could only manage a +1 over par round of 73, and will hope to improve his position tomorrow to get above the cut line. If the weather continues to be wet and windy the conditions will only get tougher and only the best will survive.
I have read other reports from the Irish Open, where the reporters do not know the difference between Scotch Whisky, and Irish Whiskey, when writing about Darren Clark’s gift to Jeev of a bottle of Bushmills Whiskey.