HONG KONG (AP) — Rafa Cabrera Bello had four birdies and an eagle Thursday for an opening 6-under 64 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open.
“I was in control of the round all day and putted nicely, too, so it was nice work out there,” the Spaniard said.
Sebastien Gros shot 65 at the Hong Kong Golf Club, while 11 golfers were tied for third with 66s.
Masters champion Danny Willett and Ian Poulter were in a group of 10 with 68s at the joint European Tour and Asian Tour event.
“I’m really annoyed,” said Poulter, who made three birdies on his first four holes but struggled after that. “I’m probably going to need to go to a padded room for about half an hour and then I’ll be all right.”
Defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, who pulled out of last week’s Hero World Challenge in Bermuda with a back injury, shot 70.
Rose hit the flag for a near-albatross on the par-5 13th hole, eventually making eagle.
“I came off today in a lot better shape than the first round of the Hero last week,” Rose said, “so I feel optimistic that I’m through the worst of it and can get better and stronger and looser every single day.”