Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott share the lead after the first round of the HSBC Champions after seven under par rounds of 65 on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills in China.
Both players have finished runners-up in major championships this season. Oosthuizen lost in a play-off to Bubba Watson at the US Masters in April. He looked the most likely winner until Watson produced one of the shots of the year to claim the Green Jacket.
Oosthuizen was just one shot too many from making the top five at the BMW Masters last week. The 2010 Open Champions has now reached a career high of 11 in the world rankings, a status achieved partly due to his efforts at Augusta. His playing attributes suggested a decent showing in China this week was likely.
Oosthuizen has won twice on the European Tour this year, including victory in Malaysia week after his Masters disappointment. His round on Thursday included birdies on each of the par fives which is a great achievement for a relatively short hitter.
The course is quite rare in that it has that number of par fives. They are all within reach for most players so those holes will present many birdie and eagle opportunities. Oosthuizen was one of only two players to birdie or eagle each of those holes.
The other player to complete the long holes as successfully was Scott whose round included just one blemish and a front nine played in 31 shots. The Australian is trying to get his career back on track after playing the last four holes of the British Open in four over which meant he was beaten by one shot by Ernie Els.
Phil Mickelson (pictured) and Watson are the best placed American players at a shot behind Oosthuizen and Scott. Mickelson did not record one bogey and is now well placed to contend for a tournament that he has already won twice in his carer.
Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner are both within three shots of the lead and look set for a good week on a course well suited to their respective games. Luke Donald is another player just three back as he looks to win the tournament and get closer to the absent Rory McIlroy in the European Tour Race to Dubai.