Rory McIlroy got his bid for a second win on The European Tour off to the ideal start after firing a seven under par 63 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The Northern Irishman has fallen just short of victory at the past two editions of the tournament having lost out in a play off to Lin Wen-tang in 2008 before missing out to Gregory Bourdy a year later.
McIlroy once again suggested he could well be in contention to make it third time lucky by making the most of near perfect conditions at Hong Kong Golf Club to reel off eight birdies against just one bogey to move one shot clear of England's Simon Dyson.
The 21 year old ensured he took the outright lead with a birdie on the par-four ninth - his last - hitting his tee shot to the front of the green before holing the putt from 15 feet, and he is hopeful he can pick up where he left tomorrow.
"It is a great start to the tournament obviously," said McIlroy. "Going out and shooting a good first round is a great start.
"The conditions are perfect for scoring. There wasn't any wind and when the greens are that good in the morning you can take advantage of it and that is what I was able to do today."
The highlight of Dyson's round was a hole in one on the par three 12th as his tee shot landed within two feet before rolling into the hole.
The Yorkshireman also hit five birdies against just one bogey for a six under 64 and was understandably delighted with his round.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start," said Dyson. "The course is excellent and the weather even better."
US Open champion Graeme McDowell - bidding to finish the season as Europe's Number One - completed his first round two shots behind McIlroy after carding a five under 65 and is alongside Ireland's Damien McGrane, while Ian Poulter returned to the clubhouse with three under 67.
Europe's Ryder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie was even par through three holes while defending champion Bourdy collected two birdies in his opening three holes to move onto two under.