Beijing - Two-time Masters champion, American Bubba Watson, led the first round of the storm-interrupted Shenzhen International on Thursday after posting a six-under par, 66.
The clubhouse leader, ranked 22nd in the world, clinched an early lead by recording an eagle and five birdies before storms in the area suspended play for two hours in the afternoon.
The 38-year-old is competing against other star players including South Africa's Haydn Porteous and Dean Burmester, Germany's Max Kieffer, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and France's Grgory Bourdy.
Play was halted shortly before 19:00 due to darkness, meaning 56 players will complete their first round early on Friday morning before the second round begins for everybody.
Porteous, Burmester, Kieffer, Jaidee and Bourdy were hot on Watson's heels after they all completed the first round at five under par.
"Well that was interesting...It's not often you birdie more than half the course!" 22-year-old Porteous commented on Twitter earlier on Thursday.
Porteous made 10 birdies in his round, but also had 3 bogeys and a double bogey.
If Watson wins, it would be his second European Tour title and first tournament victory in over a year.
Local favourite Li Haotong, ranked 151st in the world and winner of the Volvo China Open last year, completed the Shenzhen first round at three-over par.
This is the third edition of the Shenzhen International at the Genzon Golf Club, the first Chinese course to host multiple European Tour events.