Shane Lowry was leading the WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills with two holes to play of the opening round but two closing bogeys sees the Offaly man sitting one shot off the pace in China.
South African Louis Oosthuizen and Australia’s Adam Scott lead the event after the opening round after shooting seven under, Scott gaining four shots on his final three holes.
But recent tour winner in Portugal, Lowry remains in excellent form getting to eight under and now shares secong place with major champions Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson and last week’s winner in Shanghai Peter Hanson.
Graeme McDowell, the only other Irishman playing in China, also finished under par after shooting a one-under 71.
Ryder Cup Swede Hanson continued his brilliant form in China and that was bad news for the absent Rory McIlroy.
Four days after beating the world number one to become BMW Masters champion in Shanghai, Hanson now has a chance to take over from McIlroy at the head of the European Tour money list..
McIlroy and world number two Tiger Woods were both non-starters despite having played an exhibition match in China at the start of the week.