Scotland’s Richie Ramsay was among the early leaders as the Ballantine’s Championship got underway at Blackstone Golf Club.
With low scoring at a premium over the Icheon layout, the former South African Open Championship winner joined Australian Kieran Pratt, Jamie Donaldson and Ricardo Gonzalez on two under par with a birdie at the first after turning in a one under 35.
Asian Tour regular Pratt, 23, had reached three under when he turned in 34 after three birdies and a bogey at the par five 15th before birdieing the first, only to then bogey the short third.
Welshman Donaldson, seeking his first win on The European Tour in his 251st start, birdied the tenth and short 16th to be two under after eight.
He was joined on that mark by four-time winner Gonzalez when the 42 year old Argentine followed a bogey at the second with a hattrick of birdies from the fourth.
India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, South African Keith Horne, Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka, Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin and English trio Oliver Wilson, Mark Foster and Steve Webster were also under par during the early stages to share fifth place.
World Number 12 Adam Scott recovered from an opening double bogey to turn in one over par, while Ryder Cup stars Miguel Angel Jiménez, Paul Casey, Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter were amongst the afternoon starters.