Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Singh driving for confidence at Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Jeev Milkha Singh started the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters with a “solid” 70 as the Indian pioneer seeks to rediscover the form that earned him four European Tour titles.

Singh, 43, hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish on The European Tour for almost two years, after struggling with driving, confidence and shoulder problems.

After making the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, Singh cut a happy figure as he continued his steady start to the season with a two-under round at Doha Golf Club, which left him in a share of 35th place after the first day.

“I played really solid today. Two bogeys, four birdies, a lot of birdie chances. I could have holed a few putts, but that’s the story of every golfer,” said Singh, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2006 and 2008.

“I’m happy with my first round, but the main thing is that I’m getting my confidence back with my driver. I’ve struggled with that for the last two years, so I think from here, every day, every week, my driving’s going to get better and my scoring’s going to get better.”

Since winning his fourth European Tour title at the Scottish Open in July 2012, Singh has only recorded one top-10 finish on the circuit, in Dubai in February 2013. However, after starting to receive treatment to his right shoulder, he’s starting to find some form and confidence off the tee.

“I had a cortisone jab in my right shoulder a couple of months ago and I think it’s a lot better, much looser, so I can turn better that way and because of that, I’m able to generate some clubhead speed. I’ve also got a good driver in the bag and because of all those reasons, I’m much better.”

Singh said he has a bone spur on the rotator cuff and that he needs surgery, but is not keen on going under the knife.

“I’m avoiding it and I don’t want to get surgery. That was the second cortisone I had. I’m working on it quite a bit and I feel much better with the shoulder, so I think the scoring’s going to get better.”

Due to his Scottish Open win, Singh is exempt on the European Tour through 2015, but is keen to start lifting trophies again before too long.

“Hopefully, before the year’s over, I’ll have another win under my belt,” said Singh, before stressing that he believes the dark days are over.

“Honestly, I’ve got a lot of confidence compared to the last two years, so I’m really looking forward to the year.”

An Byeong-hun of Korea led the Asian challenge at Doha Golf Club with a 67. Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, carded a 68, one ahead of famed compatriot Thongchai Jaidee, who won his sixth European Tour title at last year’s Nordea Masters in Sweden.

Like Singh, fellow Indian Shiv Kapur also opened with a 70, while Korean legend YE Yang carded a 73 as he competes in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the first time. Yang won the 2009 US PGA Championship to become the first Asian man to win a Major.

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