American Nick Watney tied the course record with a near flawless eight under par 64 to claim a two stroke first round lead at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Watney, who won this year's Buick Invitational on the US PGA Tour at Torrey Pines in California, carded just one bogey during his trip around Sheshan International Golf Club to top the leaderboard ahead of compatriot Ryan Moore, Race to Dubai contender Martin Kaymer and The 3 Irish Open champion Shane Lowry.
World Number One Tiger Woods sits just a further shot back alongside Volvo World Match Play Championship runner-up Anthony Kim, Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang and a resurgent Paul Casey.
With a large first-day crowd watching 16-time WGC winner Woods, the spectators should have paid closer attention to WGC-CA Championship runner-up Watney as the two-time US PGA Tour winner posted seven birdies and an eagle before three-putting the ninth, his last hole, for his only blemish.
The World Number 32 said: "I played very well, I got off to a nice start. The greens are so good that if you hit a putt on line, it's definitely going to go in.
"I was putting very well and I just tried to give myself as many chances as possible and I was able to make a few."
Kaymer, currently second in The Race to Dubai with just three events remaining, is still battling the foot injury which sidelined him for two months, but dropped just one shot during his opening six under 66.
The German said: "I hit a lot of good shots, made the putts finally and a 66 on any course is a good result, but especially in the World Golf Championships event, it helps to start off with a good round.
"My foot is hurting a little more than last week, I am a little surprised, but the good thing is there is only three rounds to go and then I have a week off.
"My swing is still the same, it doesn't have any effect on my swing, it's just walking that's the problem."
Woods was left frustrated despite also carding just one bogey in calm scoring conditions, the FedEx Cup series winner saying he was unhappy with his own game in his first outing since last month's Presidents Cup triumph.
The 14-time Major winner said: "I got it round. It wasn't my best ball-striking round for sure, but I made some putts which was nice and just managed the game well.
"I was a bit frustrated because I had a two-way miss going on a little bit. That's not always a fun thing when you have a two day miss."
Nick Dougherty seemed to rediscover the form which led to him winning June's BMW International Open but faded down the stretch and was forced to settle for a tie for ninth at four under alongside American duo Matt Kuchar and Pat Perez and India's Jyoti Randhawa.