India's Jyoti Randhawa shot an opening round six-under par 64 to lead the Hong Kong Open by one shot at Fanling.
Angelo Que of the Philippines is one shot behind Randhawa with the likes of Ernie Els and Nicolas Colsaerts are in a large group two shots behind the early leader.
The 42-year old only needed 23 putts during his opening round and was delighted with his performance.
“I’ve been playing decent in the last few weeks but haven’t been able to put up a good number," he said. “Today I really putted my heart out, so I’m really happy with the way it went, and I’m glad I got the pace on the greens right.”
Els disappointed with start
Els was making his debut in the event and the four-time major winner managed six birdies and two bogeys during his opening 18 holes.
The four-time major winner admitted he was disappointed the start he made but was happy with the final nine holes during his first round.
“I missed three very makeable putts. If people had the cameras with us on the front, you'd have thought I was a seven-handicap. But I pulled it together and played much better on the back nine,” he commented.
However the experienced 44-year old knows that it's important to remain in a good position until the climax of the event on Sunday.
“You want to have a good round the first day, it's easy to shoot yourself out of it. At first there's quite a lot of pressure and then you take it from there. Each day, it's like a session in cricket - you take the session and do as best as you can, and then it all happens on Sunday afternoon."
Colsaerts, who almost carded the first ever 59 on the European Tour at the Portugal Masters last week, continued his good form with five birdies and bogey during his round of 66.
The Belgian, along with Els, are one shot ahead of a group of nine on four-under which includes England’s James Heath, Raphael Jacquelin of France and Spain’s Nacho Elvira.
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez was looking to win the event for a fifth time but complained of a stomach bug during his disappointing round of two-over 72.
Jimenez is looking to join Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer by winning the same event five times but admitted his preparations for the opening round were disrupted by his illness.
"I was cramping badly and was very sick. I had been vomiting and going out all night. I couldn't even sleep," said Jimenez.
However, Jimenez isn't ruling out victory just yet as he attempts to make amends for his poor opening round.
“I've been hitting good,” he said afterwards. “ I make only one birdie but I saved a couple of good pars, and then I missed a couple of birdies, also. It has been done before so I will try to move up the leaderboard.”
The Hong Kong Open is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour and is being played on the European Tour calendar for only the second time.
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