Fanling, Hong Kong – Spain's Javier Colomo carded a 6-under 64 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead with the first round of the Hong Kong Open suspended by darkness.
Colomo got into the field thanks to his ranking on the Asian Tour. He is playing just his second European Tour event of the season.
Fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is one stroke off the lead and shares second place at minus-5 with Andrew Dodt.
European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot 4-under 66 and was joined in fourth place at Hong Kong Golf Club by Fredrik Andersson Hed, Lian-wei Zhang, Lorenzo Gagli and 2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang.
American Matt Kuchar carded a pair of late birdies en route to a 1-under 69, which left him tied for 27th.
World No. 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy struggled to a 3-over 73. His round included four bogeys and just a single birdie. He is tied for 93rd.
Three players were unable to finish their first rounds on Thursday. They will complete their opening rounds before starting round two on Friday.
The players this week are starting on the first and 11th tees.
Colomo started on No. 11 and parred his first 10 holes before catching fire. He finally got on the board with a birdie on the par-5 third. He made it two in a row with a birdie at the fourth.
The Spaniard, who is making his 16th European Tour start, drained a birdie effort at the par-4 sixth. Colomo added birdies at seven and eight to grab a share of lead.
Colomo, 28, parred the ninth, then converted a 3-foot birdie putt at the 10th to grab the first-round lead.
"I played really, really good today. From the tee, on the greens, everything. I was very relaxed after the first nine holes, and I had opportunities for birdies and I had luck on the greens."
Colomo has spent the year on the Asian Tour after losing his tour card on the Challenge Tour.
"Last year, I lost my card on the Challenge Tour and my category in the European Tour, so there's only one way to go to the European Tour," Colomo said. "I had luck to get the card and the Q School on the Asian Tour and now I am 33 in the rankings. That's perfect, because next year I will play the co- sanctioned tournaments with the European Tour. It's a very good chance to improve, and why not win a tournament and go to The European Tour?"
Jimenez, the 2004 and 2007 champion, ran off three straight birdies from the 11th to start his round. He dropped in back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18.
The 48-year-old birdied the third and sixth to move to 7-under. However, he bogeyed Nos. 9 and 10 to slip back to minus-5.
"I'm putting very well and it's a pity I missed a fairway on the ninth and then on the last got a big flyer. It's an old-fashioned course - not very long, but you need to be very precise," Jimenez stated.
Dodt poured in eight birdies, but mixed in three bogeys in his round of 65.
NOTES: This is the final full-field event of the season and the top 119 on the Order of Merit will get their tour cards for next season at the completion of the tournament ... Paul Lawrie found water at the last and his closing double- bogey left him at minus-1.