France's Alexander Levy made the ideal start in his bid for a second Volvo China Open title with a brilliant opening 63 in Beijing.

Levy, who has finished in the top 30 in each of his last seven appearances in China, fired nine birdies in a flawless round to finish a shot ahead of Spain's Pablo Larrazabal.

After starting on the back nine at Topwin Golf and Country Club, which offers spectacular views of the Great Wall of China, Levy birdied the 13th, 15th and 17th to reach the turn in 33.

The 26-year-old then birdied four holes in a row from the second and finished in style with further gains on the eighth and ninth as the early starters made the most of calm morning conditions.

Levy, who finished eighth in the Shenzhen International last week - at the same venue where he won this event in 2014 - told Sky Sports: "I played really good golf at the weekend, shooting eight under and three under the last (two) rounds. I tried to follow what I did last week and I followed it pretty well.

"I hit some good drives, good irons in some good spots and wedged very close to the flag which makes it a little bit easier to make the short putts.

"I like the golf courses in China, the last one and this one, but the golf is different day after day and I will try my best this week to do like what I did today."

Larrazabal carded eight birdies in an error-free 64 which left him three shots ahead of Sweden's Peter Hanson, England's James Morrison, France's Raphael Jacquelin and the South African pair of Dean Burmester and George Coetzee.

Defending champion Li Haotong was part of a large group on three under par which included last week's winner Bernd Wiesberger and former US PGA champion YE Yang.

England's Anthony Wall, who is making his 500th European Tour start this week, recorded a one-under-par 71.