Singh, playing on an invite, posted nine birdies and one bogey for a two-shot lead over local favourite Rory Hie at the US$75,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event staged at the picturesque Taman Dayu Golf Club and Resort.
Anthony Choat of Australia and Tseng Hong-sheng of Chinese Taipei were tied third on 67s while Hsieh Chi-hsien was a further shot back in the inaugural ADT event.
S. Siva Chandhran of Malaysia, the 2010 ADT number one, veteran Zaw Moe of Myanmar and Tim Stewart of Australia were among seven players who shared sixth place on matching 69s.
Singh, who is also an accomplished drummer, has not enjoyed the best of results on the Asian Tour this season but returned to his best form after changing his grip to overwrite the previous course record of 67.
“My form has been patchy. I’ve changed a lot of things in my game in the last few months. The reason why I wanted to play here (ADT) is because I wanted to put to use what I’ve changed and it seems to be alright.
“Any golfer would know that once you change your grip, your swing will feel brand new. For a few months, I’ve been hitting the ball sideways but now it is all getting together. I made my grip more neutral and I’m hitting it more comfortably now,” said Singh, a former state squash player in Chandigarh.
He saluted the immaculate conditions and layout at the Jack Nicklaus designed Taman Dayu Golf Club, which he rates as one of the best in Asia.
“This is a brilliant golf course. I was telling my friend that I haven’t played on a bad course in Indonesia and this is probably the best that I’ve played anywhere in Asia. Clearly I have a score to show for it,” smiled Singh.
Hie, the first Indonesian to earn an Asian Tour card in 2009, raised local cheers as he stayed within two shots from the leader and playing partner with a flawless 66.
He surprised even himself with the effort as he had never set foot in Surabaya prior to the Taman Dayu Championship.
“You can’t win it in the first round but you can lose it but I’m happy with the way I’m played. This is actually the first time I’ve been to Surabaya and I’m pleasantly surprised at how well I played,” said Hie.
“It is a really nice golf course and the tournament is well run. The golf course is amazing. It is probably the best course I’ve played in Indonesia,” added the 23-year-old.
Chinese Taipei’s Tseng said he was calm and patient in a blemish free round highlighted by a 15 feet chip-in birdie on the par three third hole.
“This is such a beautiful place and I don’t know why but it made me feel very calm. It was quite an easy round and I’m happy with how I played,” said the 30-year-old Tseng.
The Taman Dayu Golf Club and Resort is located in the resort area of Prigen, East Java, which is within a one-hour drive from Surabaya.
The course is part of an integrated resort that covers 600 hectares of prime land including exclusive residential homes and villas, spa, waterpark and clubhouse facilities, which include 38 hotel rooms and luxurious villa accommodation along the golf course.