Macau - India's Anirban Lahiri took an early lead with a brilliant 10-under-par 61 as the Macau Open got under way Thursday, with defending champion Scott Hend a shot behind.
Lahiri sank a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at the Macau Golf and Country Club for a career-low round, surpassing last year's record-equalling 62 in the final round, when he was runner up.
With Hindus celebrating the festival of Diwali, the four-time Asian Tour winner pronounced it perfect timing.
"It's a great Diwali and happy Diwali to everyone back home. It's nice to have some fireworks on the course," said Lahiri.
"I really played solid all day and it was nice to get such fantastic weather and putt well."
Australian big-hitter Hend -- who won the Hong Kong Open last week for his sixth Asian Tour title -- stayed on fine form, nailing eight birdies and an eagle in a strong start at the $900,000 tournament.
Fellow Australian Sam Brazel was in third place on 64, while Switzerland's Martin Rominger and Australia's Adam Groom both got home in 65.
Star attraction Ernie Els of South Africa had to settle for 70 along with three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee.
"I wasn't quite on my game," said four-time major winner Els. "I've got a lot of work to do."
Leading scores after the opening round:
61 - Anirban Lahiri (IND)
62 - Scott Hend (AUS)
64 - Sam Brazel (AUS)
65 - Adam Groom (AUS), Martin Rominger (SUI)
66 - Kalem Richardson (AUS), Jyoti Randhawa (IND), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND)
67 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Simon Griffiths (ENG)