Fatherhood seems to have done wonders to Jeev Milkha Singh, who brought home a sparkling four-under 68 to grab his slice of the six-way opening round lead in the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai on Thursday.
On a day when blustery conditions caught many a golfer on the wrong foot, Jeev mastered the wind-swept Majlis Course to join playing partner Edoardo Molinari, Walesman Stephen Dodd, Swede Alexander Noren, Race to Dubai leader Charl Schwartzel and defending champion Rory McIlroy at the top.
It was an outstanding display of near-flawless golf by the Indian who recently became a proud father, considering only 12 of the 66 morning starters managed sub-par cards.
Among other Indians in fray, Shiv Kapur lied tied 61st after carding two-over 74th, one shot ahead of Jyoti Randhawa (tied 82nd).
US-based Indian Arjun Atwal and Kolkata pro SSP Chowrasia carded identical five-over 77 to share the 108th place, while Anirban Lahiri (120th) was languishing further one stroke behind.
The day, however, belonged to Jeev and barring the fifth hole bogey, the affable Chandigarh pro did not put a foot wrong today.
He birdied the second hole and the ninth as well to be one-under at the turn.
Jeev began his back nine with a bang, reeling off a hat-trick of birdies and parred the final six holes to stay at the top.
"I think I managed myself fairly well," an elated Jeev said after the round.
"I think days like this when it's 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, and I did, and hole some good putts for birdies. And had a good middle stretch from the 9th and 12th and birdied all of them. Just hung in there, and, you know, walked away with a four-under," he said.
Looking ahead, Jeev was hopeful of better conditions on Friday.
"Hopefully, if it's this breezy tomorrow, I'll make the most out of it in the morning," Jeev said.
Meanwhile, Shiv had a rollercoaster front nine where he was two-under after three holes but the three birdies he nailed in this stretch were negated by two bogeys and a double bogey.
On his way back, Shiv managed two birdies but could not prevent three bogeys to finish with a two-over card.
Randhawa managed just two birdies in his round but the couple of double bogeys in his front nine meant he was always doing the chasing job.
Atwal's round, in comparison, included two birdies as against five bogeys and a double bogey.
Chowrasia's goose, on the other hand, was cooked by the five consecutive front nine bogeys which completely derailed his campaign.
In Lahiri's case, three bogeys and two double bogeys in his back nine sent his campaign in complete disarray.