Brown leads McIlroy after first round in Hong Kong

Hong Kong :New Zealand`s Mark Brown shot an eight-under-par-62 for the first round of the Hong Kong Open to upstage Rory McIlroy and take a one-stroke lead over the world number 10 on Thursday.

Joining McIlroy in second is former double Asian Tour number one Jeev Milkha Singh.

Britain`s Simon Dyson, who hit the third hole-in-one of his European Tour career, is tied fourth with Denmark`s Soren Hansen on six-under par.

Dyson hit a wedge from 136-yards to record his hole-in-one at the par three, 12th hole which he was playing as his third.

Brown, 35, recorded eight birdies in his lowest score on the European Tour however the effort will not be officially recognised as a `preferred lie` rule was in effect.

The world 446 had been concerned about his form with the driver and benefited from having to only use it on a few occasions.

"I have been really struggling with the driver the last couple of months, so when you don`t have to hit it that often, it sort of makes the course suit me," Brown told reporters.

"It`s nice being back to an old-style, firm golf course. It`s a really nice change to the courses we play in Europe most of the time."

Northern Irishman McIlroy had arrived in Hong Kong still suffering the ill-effects of a chest infection but he dispelled any fitness concerns in what was his lowest score in 11 rounds on the Fanling course.

"I`m feeling fine though I still have a bit of a head cold but the chest is starting to clear and I`m feeling a lot better, getting a bit more energy," the 21-year-old said.

"When you shoot 63, you`re always going to feel a bit better, as well. So that helps."

U.S. Open champion, Graeme McDowell, second in the Tour`s Race to Dubai standings, was among six players at five-under par.

Bureau Report

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