Andrea Pavan and Lu Wei-chih will take a one shot lead into the second round of the UBS Hong Kong Open but they will be looking over their shoulders at Major champions Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell who are among those trying to chase them down.
World number seven Rose, who is the top ranked player in the field, carded a flawless five-under-par 65 on Thursday to lie one shot off the lead with McDowell a shot further back on four under.
“I’m happy enough with that. You know, sort of three-under through 10, and had my chances on the back nine,” said McDowell, who has slipped to 67th in the Race to Dubai.
“And you know, I had a few putts that could have went in, but generally [I’m] very happy the way I putted today, so I can’t complain.
“Hit a lot of decent shots and decent starts. Looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.
“I also had good company today with Dustin and Justin, two of the best players in the world, an inspiration in itself.”
After a dropped shot at the par four first, Graeme collected five birdies in his round.
Graeme added; “It’s a thinking man’s golf course. [I was] playing with two of the longest hitters sort of around with Dustin and Justin today,
“They can’t really use their power a lot. You have to hit it into the same spots quite often, and you have to position the ball in the fairways to have a chance to attack the pins.
“So there is a lot of accuracy involved here and you’ve got to hang tough and you’ve got to be patient.
“There are a lot of chances out there but if you compound errors, you can get in big trouble.
“I enjoy this test and I’ve always enjoyed coming to this tournament.”
Pavan came into the week 191st in the Race to Dubai and needing a career-best finish of second or better to climb into the top 110 and keep hold of his playing privileges.
“This year has been a struggle to say the least,” said the Italian.
“Obviously this is the last event of the year for me and then I’m looking to go to Q-School.
“I’m just really trying to get my game in better shape. It’s good on the range but I still feel like I’m lacking a bit of confidence.”
Lu, who came close to retirement three years ago after undergoing brain surgery to remove a non-malignant tumour, carded eight birdies and two bogeys in his 64.
“For the first six months after the surgery, I pretty much gave up. I didn’t think I could play golf anymore,” the 36-year-old said.
“I had to rest for another six months and then finally I started playing a little bit. I just kept telling myself that I want to be a real golfer again.”