DUBAI // World No 61 Jeev Milkha Singh, just seven days after becoming a father, is hoping to make the most of his share of the overnight lead at the Dubai Desert Classic and take the title home to his newborn son in India. The 38-year-old's wife, Kudrat, gave birth to her first child last Friday in Chandigarh, yet Singh was back to his best at a blustery Emirates Golf Club, finishing his opening round at the Majlis course on four-under par 68 to complete a sextet of players at the top of a cluttered leaderboard.
"I think I managed myself fairly well. When it is so windy, you have got to miss the ball on the right side and you've got to make a lot of up-and-downs, I did that, and holed some good putts for birdies. I just hung in there and walked away with a four-under." Two years ago Kudrat gave birth to a stillborn baby, but this time there was nothing but joy and Jeev was overcome with emotion on the sight of his first child.
"I can't explain it," said Singh of the latest edition to the family. "I'm so excited. When I saw my son for the first time, I had tears in my eyes. It's a great feeling; I don't think you realise it until the time you have it. "We haven't named him yet; we have to wait until they come home [but] my wife is doing fine and the baby is doing fine too so I can only thank God." Singh shares the lead with the Race to Dubai leader Charl Schwartzel, reigning Dubai champion Rory McIlroy, Sweden's Alexander Noren, Edoardo Molinari of Italy and Welshman Stephen Dodd. Molinari, the world No 53, played alongside Singh and the sight of his playing partner playing so well inspired him, he said.
"You just keep it going between each other and it's a lot of fun to be playing with someone who is playing as well as Jeev," he said. Molinari also gave a special mention to compatriot Matteo Manassero, the 16-year-old amateur who finished the opening day one stroke off the lead. "Every week, we play a practice round together and he's been asking a few questions and obviously you give it to him because he is such a great talent," said Molinari. "He is going to do very well in this game."