South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and Wang Ter-chang of Chinese Taipei set the pace on the opening morning of the UBS Hong Kong Open as the duo topped the leaderboard midway through the first round.
Kenneth Ferrie had briefly set the back at five-under-par at Hong Kong Golf Club but back to back bogeys saw him slip back into a group tied for third and a shot adrift of Schwartzel and Wang.
Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood and nearest challenger Rory McIlroy joined defending champion Lin Wen-tang in the group at three under.
Westwood leads McIlroy by a mere 52,321 euros at the top of the Race to Dubai with Hong Kong representing the final event ahead of the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Simon Khan, the 2004 Celtic Manor Wales Open, must finish at least ninth to secure his European Tour card and made a solid start to progress to two under par.
He was joined two shots adrift by 2005 Volvo PGA Championship winner Scott Drummond who must claim at least seventh with his five year exemption set to run out.