Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell Contending at Hong Kong Open

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

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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