India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (66) was one shot behind the leader Angelo Que (65) of the Philippines at the end of the first round of the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Thursday.
Another Indian Anirban Lahiri was two shots further behind in fifth place at 68.
As Que produced a flawless seven-under-par 65, Bhullar and Jason Knutzon posted matching 66s to share second place while home favourite Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei fired a 67 to secure fourth place.
Knutzon had the honour of recording the event’s first hole-in-one on the fifth hole.
Lahiri is in fifth place with Chinese Taipei’s Yeh Wei-tze after he signed for a 68.
Other Indians in the field include Himmat Rai (71) in tied 20th, Ajeetesh Sandhu (73) at tied 63rd, Chiragh Kumar (74) at tied 82nd and Digvijay Singh (75) at tied 100th.
Despite playing at the 7125-yard Linkou International Golf and Country Club for the first time, Bhullar showed he could adapt well.
“This is my first time playing here. Trust me, I’m falling in love with the course layout. The greens kind of remind me of home, in India where I practised,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner.
Bhullar also enjoyed a bogey-free round, which was highlighted by an eagle on the par-five first and four birdies. He believes his aggression on the course will set him up well for the rest of the week.
“I’m an aggressive player and I’ve been striking the ball very well. I’m also feeling really comfortable around the greens. I would love to continue this form for the next three days and would be glad if I can win the trophy on Sunday,” said Bhullar.
Lahiri said that the morning conditions were good.
“The weather was overcast so it wasn’t very hot. It wasn’t very windy either. Because the sky was a little overcast, the greens were a little bit moist so it was soft.
“I think it was good playing conditions and it’s great to see guys shooting 6 and 7 under on this course. It’s not an easy course,” he said.
“These kind of playing conditions definitely suits my game better. Maybe because I played the Pro-Am and hitting balls on Wednesday, I feel like my body has opened up on Thursday in this kind of weather. I’m much more comfortable with my swing and have more in control with my muscles than when it’s cold.
We’ve grown up in these conditions and we know how to get it on. It’s definitely an advantage,” Lahiri added.
Que, who is seeking to end a two-year drought, started on the back-nine 10th. He got off the blocks quickly with two birdies in his opening three holes, then birdied the 16th and 18th holes to reach the turn in 32.
The Filipino continued to seize control with further birdies on the third and fourth holes before his seventh birdie on the seven hole gave him the outright lead.
Knutzon put himself in a good position to end his five-year title drought with an opening round that was marked by seven birdies, three bogeys and an ace.