Justin Rose tees off Thursday on the 11th hole at Hong Kong Golf Club during the first rounds of the Hong Kong Open.
Getty Images/Victor Fraile
Thursday, October 22, 2015

HONG KONG (AP) Andrea Pavan of Italy made four birdies on his last six holes to take a share of the lead after the first round of the Hong Kong Open with a 6-under 64.

Pavan was tied with Lu Wei-chih of Taiwan, a stroke ahead of a trio that included Justin Rose of England. Rose made four birdies on the back nine in a bogey-free round at the Fanling Course and was tied with Taiwanese player Pan Cheng-tseung and Jeev Milka Singh of India.

''I was happy with my putting although I did miss a couple (of birdies) which slid by,'' Rose said. ''Yet it is a good start to the tournament.''

Graeme McDowell was in a group of six players another shot back at the joint European Tour and Asian Tour event.

Ian Poulter showed no effects of his late arrival to Hong Kong, shooting a composed 67. Poulter landed late Wednesday night after a 15-hour flight from Florida after making last-minute plans to play in the tournament. Poulter's ranking dipped nine places to 51 at the start of the week, making him ineligible to play in the WGC-HSBC Champions and leaving him one short of the minimum number of 13 European Tour events to retain his membership for next season.

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The Englishman was then handed a spot in Hong Kong by American Rich Beem, who had a sponsors' invite to the tournament but agreed to step aside for Poulter.

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''I'm fairly happy with that result today although I think I left a few out there. This course suits my game,'' Poulter said.

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