Daniel Im set the pace early on day one as the Hero Indian Open got under way at Delhi Golf Club.
The event was making its second appearance on The European Tour International Schedule with six of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking in action in New Delhi.
But it was World Number 316 Im who stole the show on Thursday morning with a seven under par 65, the lowest score to par recorded since the event was first co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour last season.
Qualifying School graduate Im made a birdie-birdie start from the tenth and a further gain on the 15th allowed him to turn in 33. Further birdies followed on the first, second, seventh and ninth to give the American a one-shot lead over Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares.
The two-time European Tour winner also started on the tenth and made birdies on the 11th, 13th and 14th before a hat-trick of gains from the 18th catapulted him up the leaderboard with seven holes to play.
Local favourite Sanjay Kumar signed for a five under par 67 to sit two shots off the lead, registering eight birdies and three bogeys in a topsy-turvy opening effort.
South Korea's Jeunghun Wang was unblemished as he also signed for a 67, with Prom Meesawat in the group at five under after recovering from an opening bogey.
The Thai narrowly avoided a trip to Q School last season as he finished 107th on The Race to Dubai but has made a promising start to the 2016 campaign and, after that dropped shot on the tenth, made gains on the 13th, 14th, 15th 17th and 18th to turn in 32.
Another birdie on the second then left him five under with five to play.
Four-time Indian Open runner-up SSP Chawrasia was then at four under through 14 holes despite a double-bogey on the 16th, alongside Filipino Miguel Tabuena, who had played ten holes.
France's Sébastien Gros and Grégory Havret, American Paul Peterson and India's Honey Baisoya were then at three under, a shot clear of a group which included three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington.
Harrington's playing partner and defending champion Anirban Lahiri was a further shot back with the marquee three-ball having completed 12 holes.
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