Jyoti Randhawa shot a 6-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday.
Angelo Que (65) was in second place, one ahead of group of nine others at 66 that included four-time major champion Ernie Els.
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Els, who turns 45 on Friday, was playing in his first tournament during a month-long Asian swing which will also take him to Macau and China.
"I missed three very makeable putts on the back nine and that hurt a little bit," Els said after carding six birdies and two bogeys.
The Hong Kong Open is sanctioned by both the European Tour and the Asian Tour and is being played for the second time on the European Tour calendar.
Four-time champion Miguel Angel Jimenez (72) struggled with the after-effects of food poisoning. The 50-year-old Spaniard won the Hong Kong Open in 2004, `07, `12 and `13.
"I was cramping badly and was very sick. I had been vomiting and going out all night. I couldn’t even sleep," said Jimenez, who is bidding to join Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer as the only people to have won the same tournament five times.