Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott both shot a 7-under 65 yesterday to share a one-shot lead after the opening round of the HSBC Champions.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 The Open winner, played a bogey-free round with seven birdies, while Scott finished his round with two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.
Two-time HSBC Champions winner Phil Mickelson was in a tie for third one shot back, along with Bubba Watson, Peter Hanson and Shane Lowry.
Both Oosthuizen and Scott took advantage of the pristine conditions and the five par-5 holes on the Jose Maria Olazabal-designed course at Mission Hills. Oosthuizen birdied all five, while Scott had four birdies to go along with his eagle.
“It was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day,” Scott said. “With five par-5s, it kind of sets up well for my game and the plan is to just take advantage of the 5s and hopefully hang in there with the leaders all week.”
The Australian, ranked sixth in the world, is still looking for his first tournament win of the year. He nearly captured his first major at The Open in July before blowing a four-shot lead over Ernie Els with four holes to play.
Oosthuizen also said the key to his game was hitting solidly off the tee on the par-5s, something he will need to do all week if he is going to stay atop the leaderboard.
“If I can keep doing what I’m doing on the par-5s, you know, hitting the fairways and leaving myself with the irons or a 5-wood or something, you’ve got a good chance,” Oosthuizen said.
Dustin Johnson shot a 67 to sit two strokes off the lead with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat.