New Delhi - American Daniel Im fired an unblemished seven-under 65 on Thursday to open up a one-shot lead after the first round of the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.
Im, 30, continued his promising start to the season at the challenging Delhi Golf Club as he surged ahead of Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira and Thailand's Prom Meesawat who shared the second place on 66.
Playing in Delhi for the first time, Im made a birdie-birdie start from the tenth and a further gain on the 15th allowed him to turn in 33.
"I just kept my cool. I'd heard about this golf course so many times prior to this trip," he said after the day's play.
"I like this area where you need to keep it straight and hit good iron shots to have good birdie putts."
A group of five players were tied fifth at five-under 67 including Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, who recorded the 12th hole-in-one of the season at the par-three fifth.
Indian duo SSP Chawrasia and Sanjay Kumar also recorded rounds of 67, along with Australian Terry Pilkadaris and South Korea's Jeunghun Wang.
Reigning Asian Tour number one and defending champion Anirban Lahiri of India birdied his closing four holes for a 68 while three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland carded a disappointing 71.
"I created problems on the greens. I could see at times I was a bit aggressive on a few tee boxes and got away with that," said Harrington.
"I might need to be a little bit more conservative for the next few rounds."
The event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for the second straight year, is carrying an enhanced prize purse of $1.66 million.
65 - Daniel Im (USA)
66 - Prom Meesawat (THA), Jorge Campillo (ESP), Nacho Elvira (ESP)
67 - Sanjay Kumar (IND), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), S.S.P Chawrasia (IND), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Raphael Jacquelin (FRA)
68 - Honey Baisoya (IND), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Alejandro Canizares (ESP), Gregory Havret (FRA), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Wade Ormsby (AUS).
69 - Sebastien Gros (FRA), Thangaraja N. (SRI), David Lipsky (USA), Rahil Gangjee (IND), Vikrant Chopra (IND), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Rashid Khan (IND), Maximilian Kieffer (GER).