A trio of European Tour veterans topped the leaderboard after shooting a 4-under 68 in difficult conditions in the first round of the Volvo China Open on Thursday.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Bradley Dredge of Wales were the only two golfers to post bogey-free rounds on a day when the firm greens and strong winds caused others to struggle. English golfer David Howell had one bogey to go with five birdies.

They were a stroke ahead of a group of three golfers in fourth that included defending champion Alexander Levy of France.

China's top player, Li Haotong, and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat both shot 71 to sit in joint 14th place. Last Sunday, Kiradech beat the 19-year-old Li in a playoff to capture the Shenzhen International title.