Englishman James Morrison and Richie Ramsay of Scotland got off to spirited starts at the Hero Indian Open to share the opening round lead on five-under-par 66 on Thursday.
Morrison and Ramsay, both playing on a sponsor's invitation, held a one shot lead over local hope Shiv Kapur, Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat of Thailand, Kalle Samooja and Jaakko Makitalo of Finland and Spaniard Javi Colomo at the Karnataka [ Images ] Golf Association course, in Bangalore.
Playing from the back nine, Zaw Moe of Myanmar shot back-to-back eagles on holes 11 and 12 to hold the lead for most of the round before making a double bogey on the par three eighth hole at the Asian Tour event with a prize fund of approximately US $1.25 million.
Ramsay, winner of September's Omega European Masters, which was sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, turned in 34 with one eagle and one bogey.
The wind started to pick up late in the afternoon and so did Ramsay's form as he returned with four birdies in his homeward nine.
"I kept it going on the front nine and played lovely on the back. I hit it nicely on the last few holes but couldn't make my putts. As long as you are hitting fairways, there are a lot of chances out there," said Ramsay.
"There was a little bit of breeze and crosswinds which made the fairways a lot narrower but the course is playing great and obviously it is good to get off to a good start and I'll try to build on this," he added.
Morrison, a winner in Europe, enjoyed a solid three-hole stretch when he birdied hole four and sank a huge 30 foot eagle putt on the par five fifth hole followed by another birdie on six.
"I kept out of the rough and found most of the fairways. The course was brilliant and I like this kind of an old-style course, which is tree-lined and challenging. It was a good day but there was also a tricky crosswind as the round progressed," said Morrison.
Kapur, who has three-top 10s on the Asian Tour this season, recovered from an early bogey as he rolled in five birdies including one on the last hole.
"If you told me I would shoot a 67 at the start of the day in this breeze, I would have taken it. Golfers are never happy and the way I struck it, I gave myself a lot of chances. I'll take this as a start and hopefully build on this from here," said Kapur, whose last victory on the Asian Tour was in 2005.
Panuphol, who is searching for a maiden Asian Tour victory, shot a flawless round highlighted by two closing birdies for a 67.
"I didn't start off good. It was early morning at 6.40am and I wasn't awake! I made the putt for birdie on 12 and that was a quick birdie. I made a long putt on 15 for birdie as well. I finished with birdie and birdie which was awesome," said the 19-year-old.
"It was a solid round. I missed a few fairways and greens but being bogey free is always good. It is a tough course, it is tight and narrow. You need to get your tee shots on the fairways to make birdies," added Panuphol, who is nicknamed Coconut by his family.
Scores after round 1:
66 - James Morrison (ENG), Richie Ramsay (SCO).
67 - Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha), Chapchai Nirat (Tha), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Jaakko Makitalo (Fin), Javi Colomo (Esp), Shiv Kapur (Ind), Zaw Moe (Myn).
68 - Angelo Que (Phi), Jason Knutzon (Usa), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Shankar Das (Ind).
69 - Harendra P. Gupta (Ind), Mardan Mamat (Sin), Chiragh Kumar (Ind), Honey Baisoya (Am, Ind), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Jonathan Moore (Usa), Namchok Tantipokhakul (Tha), Jarmo Sandelin (Swe).
70 - Chawinroj Rungsrichai (Tha), Hsu Chia-Jen (Tpe), Pablo Herreria (Esp), Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Scott Barr (Aus), Himmat Rai (Ind), Panuwat Muenlek (Tha), Adam Groom (Aus), Berry Henson (Usa), Peter Hanson (Swe), Anirban Lahiri (Ind), Martin Rominger (Sui), Simon Griffiths (Eng).
71 - Scott Hend (Aus), Koh Deng Shan (Sin), Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind), Ashok Kumar (Ind), Unho Park (Aus), Tim Stewart (Aus), Ross Bain (Sco), Arnond Vongvanij (Tha), Kwanchai Tannin (Tha).