Daniel Im fired an unblemished seven under par 65 to set the clubhouse target on day one of the Hero Indian Open.
The American has enjoyed a promising start to the season since coming through the Qualifying School in November, making four cuts from six and securing back-to-back top ten finishes in South Africa in January.
The tie for third at the Joburg Open was his best European Tour finish to date but he put himself in a good position to go better than that this week at Delhi Golf Club, although he will face some stiff competition, including World Number 52 and defending champion Anirban Lahiri, who was three off the lead after finishing his round with a run of four birdies.
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 and second and when he chipped in at the seventh, he was making serene progress.
Another birdie followed on the ninth and that was enough to give Im a one-shot lead over Prom Meesawat.
The Thai narrowly avoided a trip to the Q-School last season after finishing 107th in 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.
Further birdies on the second and eighth then moved Meesawat to six under, a shot clear of SSP Chawrasia, Sanjay Kumar and Jeunghun Wang.
Local favourite Chawrasia, a four-time runner-up at this event, had a double-bogey on the 16th but made up for it with seven birdies, one fewer than countryman Kumar who also had three bogeys.
South Korea's Wang was unblemished in his 67.
Lahiri, who started on the tenth, was level par as he stood on the sixth tee after four birdies and four bogeys but he rattled off four gains in a row to get himself into contention alongside fellow Indian Honey Baisoya, Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares and Frenchman Grégory Havret.
Two-time European Tour winner Cañizares was in a share of the lead after seven birdies in 14 holes but a bogey on the seventh and a closing double stalled his progress.
Baisoya was one over at the turn but came home in 31 with help from an eagle at the 14th, while Havret had four birdies on his card.
France's Sébastien Gros was then at three under alongside American David Lipsky, India's Rahil Gangjee and Sri Lanka's N Thangaraja.
Three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington had to settle for a 71 after a closing bogey.
|T4||DA SILVA, Adilson||BRA||18||-12|