Edoardo Molinari raced into the clubhouse lead at the Barclays Singapore Open with a stunning first round 62.
The Italian’s nine under par effort on the Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club gave him an early one shot lead over Korea’s 2009 US PGA Championship winner Y E Yang.
Ryder Cup star Molinari has only had one top-ten finish in a so far disappointing year, and that came back in January when he was eighth in Bahrain.
But he carded four birdies in his first seven holes – including a hattrick from the fifth – and after dropping his only shot of the day at the ninth, reeled off six birdies for an inward 29.
“It was a very good round – I missed a few shots out there but the putting was excellent today, which is probably the first good round of putting that I have had in a while,” said Molinari.
“I have been working on the same things, but I had a really good session on the putting green on Tuesday afternoon and I was just trying to work on the same feelings out on the course.
“I probably had 25 or 26 putts today but the most important thing was that I holed everything inside ten feet, which is what you have to do on this course because it is very short and important to make a good score here.
“I would have been happy with five or six under at the start of the day so I am very happy with it.”
Yang, also playing the easier Tanjong layout, produced six birdies and an eagle in his eight under par 63.
“I was sweating like a pig,” said Yang. “I had to use a towel quite a few times before I teed off. First few shots I made were quite bad and it was disappointing, the first par five I could not make birdie there. But I think it was good that I got all those bad shots out of my system early on so I could capitalise on the later holes. My putter worked very well today so overall I cannot really complain.
“Even though it was early in the round that eagle put me three under and helped me play in a lot more comfortable state of mind. I had a cushion so that I could make some errors, but I did not. That really kick-started everything - I hit driver, seven iron from 175 yards and a 15 foot putt.”
England’s James Morrison was third on seven under with six holes to play, and after a hattrick of gains from the tenth still had an outside chance of The European Tour’s first 59.
South African Jbe Kruger was the leading player over on the Serapong Course at six under with one to play, with Sung Lee, Christian Nilsson and Athaphon Prathumanee on the same mark on the Tanjong.
Former Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie completed a four under par 67 to be alongside two-time Major winner Retief Goosen, while Padraig Harrington was two under.