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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 10:30 GMT
Monty makes slow start in India
Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie needs a good finish in India this week
FIRST ROUND LEADERBOARD
(GB & Ire unless stated):

-5 S Khan (Ind), D Vancsik (Arg)
-4 G Chalmers (Aus), RJ Derksen (Ned), M Foster, J Kamte (SA), T Kiyota (Jpn), J Knutzon (US), U Park (Aus), A Scott (Aus), P Sheehan (Aus), JM Singh (Ind)
Selected others:
-2 V Singh (Fij)
+2 C Montgomerie
+4 I Poulter

Colin Montgomerie's bid to regain his place in the world top 50 began badly with an opening round of 74 at the Johnnie Walker Classic in India.

The 44-year-old, who needs to move up from his current 54th spot by the end of March to qualify for April's US Masters, had four bogeys in New Delhi.

Local man Shamim Khan shares the early lead with Daniel Vancsik at five under, with England's Mark Foster a shot back.

World number five Adam Scott posted six birdies and also shares second place.

Montgomerie climbed eight places in the world rankings after two victories at last week's World Golf Championship Match Play event in Arizona.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Iain Carter

After this tournament, being staged in India for the first time, he will play in an event in South Korea, plus the CA World Championship in Florida, before the qualification cut-off point for Augusta.

Starting from the 10th, he picked up two bogeys on both nines, with single birdies in each half.

Foster, by contrast, compiled four birdies in the opening eight holes.

The 32-year-old, who has missed the cut in his last three European events, bogeyed the 10th after a bad drive but collected another birdie with a 10-foot putt at the 14th.

"It's very warm out there and it's not that easy because the course is playing firm and tricky but it's a good score to start the week," he said.

The ever-colourful Ian Poulter faces a battle to survive the cut after an eventful opening 76. He also started from the 10th and birdied his opening hole, but three double bogeys saw him reach the turn in six over.

Ian Poulter
Poulter's first round play failed to match his dazzling shirt

The world number 24 was grateful for birdies at the final two holes to close on plus four.

His playing partner Vijay Singh joked: "Maybe he should dress more sober."

Vancsik made an eagle at his final hole of the day to move to five under after a round that also included five birdies and two bogeys.

He was joined on that mark by Khan, who made the fifth birdie of a bogey-free round on his final hole on a course he was already familiar with.

Singh stayed in touch with the leaders, carding four birdies in an opening 70 to close three shots adrift.

He was far from happy with his round, however, and said: "I didn't putt particularly well and threw away a few shots. I did not face any problems, just caused them myself."

Scott was sailing along at five under after 14 holes, before a double bogey at the par-three 16th.

Of his one costly hole, the Australian said: "We had to wait on the tee and maybe I lost my focus a little. I just hit a bad shot, the only one of the day and it went in the water."

The 27-year-old recovered to birdie the next and build a solid platform for his campaign this week.



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