Alexander Levy fired a flawless six-under-par 66 to take the lead alongside Soo-Min Lee at the Shenzhen International on Thursday. The Frenchman combined four birdies and an eagle on day one to move a shot clear of the rest of the field at the Genzon Golf Club.
South Korean Lee, the world number 127, was also among the pacesetters as he also completed a bogey-free round. Lee went out in 33 and added successive birdies on 13 and 14 before making a fine two at the short 16th to move into a tie for the lead alongside Levy.
Levy had a quick start for the second week in a row following his day-one lead at the Spanish Open at Valderrama seven days ago. He started in a similar fashion with birdies on his 1st and 4th holes. The 25-year-old them made an eagle at the long par-five 17th and recorded further back-to-back birdies on the turn. A potential course record looked possible but Levy finished with eight consecutive pars.
“It’s always nice to shoot under par,” Levy told European Tour Radio afterwards. “I have some very good memories here and it’s nice to play this course where you had your first win. I played good last week, a few bad rounds with the wind but I feel my game is in good shape and I played solid today like the last round in Valderrama.”
Former US Masters champion Bubba Watson was the biggest name on show on day one and he started with a modest round of 71. Last week’s European Tour winner Branden Grace continued his fine form and will resume on Friday just one shot shy of the co-leaders after an opening 67.
There are also a clutch of players well positioned at four-under-par including Raphael Jacquelin, Joost Luiten, Gary Stal, Eduardo De La Riva and Ireland’s Paul Dunne.