• Hong Kong Open

Higgins leads by one after eventful opening round

ESPN staff
December 5, 2013
David Higgins is vowing to make the most of every European Tour start © Getty Images

Ireland's David Higgins holds a one-shot lead at the Hong Kong Open after posting a six-under first-round 64.

Higgins - who lost his European Tour card last year - made nine birdies, although his progress was checked with three bogeys in Fanling.

An eventful opening round also saw Finland's Joonas Granberg disqualified for missing his tee time. He had been due to tee off from the 11th at Hong Kong Golf Club, but went to the first tee before realising his mistake. Having rushed over to the 11th, Granberg discovered his caddie had gone to the 10th.

Sweden's Joel Sjoholm narrowly avoided the same fate as Granberg having slept through six alarms and woken up 30 minutes before his tee time. He was forced to tee off at the first hole in his trainers before Tour organisers handed him his golf shoes at the green.

Andrea Pavan, winner of Italy's Challenge Tour, sits one stroke back from Higgins after shooting 65 with seven players tied on third.

"It was great," said Higgins. "I just played solid tee to green, holed some lovely putts and had a chip in.

"If you're going to have a score like that you have to do some good stuff. You've got to use your imagination; let it run out a little bit, maybe use a slope here and there, so it's good for me. It's a great test of golf.

"I played quite well on Tour at the end of last season, so I've come here in decent form and I've been working hard.

"The end of the year was disappointing for me because I didn't keep my full playing rights, but I still have some. I'm going to have chances and every time I have a chance I need to make the most of it - this is a good start.

"You get on a course and hole some putts and you're going to have a good score and I did that, so it's time to push on and have a decent week here."

Higgins joined the morning's clubhouse leaders Andrew Dodt and Prom Meesawat at four under after nailing a 10-foot birdie putt at the third, having teed off at the 11th.

The 41-year-old, a three-time winner of the Challenge Tour, birdied the sixth and seventh but chipped in across the green into a bunker at the ninth, eventually sealing a bogey. However another birdie on the 10th got him back on track, at the same hole where Pavan dropped his only shot of the day.

Dodt and Meesawat are joined by Singapore pair Lam Chih-bing and Mardan Mamat, India's Sujian Singh and England's Seve Benson and Adam Gee.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, the defending champion and the highest ranked player in the field, hit a level par 70.

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