Jecheon (Korea): India`s Chiragh Kumar started on a bright note with a round of one-under 71 that placed him in tied 31st spot at the inaugural Volvik Hildesheim Open J Golf Series here on Thursday.
The other Indian in the field Himmat Rai carded 73 and was placed tied 82nd and needed to shoot a low number in the second round to keep a berth for the weekend.
Korean rookie Ma Soo-kil and countryman Lee Sang-hee kept the host country atop the leaderboard by posting matching six-under-par 66s to share the first round lead.
The 22-year-old Ma, who is making his debut on the Korean Golf Tour, mixed his card with five birdies, an eagle and a bogey while Lee enjoyed a flawless round that was highlighted by an eagle-three on the 16th hole to take a single shot lead over compatriots Choi Ho Sung and Kim Dae-hyun, who returned 67 each to take the tied third place.
Chiragh, still trying to find the form that very nearly took him to his maiden Asian Tour title last year at the Hero Indian Open, opened the day with a bogey on first, but got back the stroke with a birdie on the third and then a second one on the fourth. A bogey on the fifth meant he was even par.
He made just one more birdie on 11th, but parred the rest for a card of 71.
Himmat had two birdies and three bogeys on the front nine and nine straight pars on back nine for a round of 73.
Asian Tour winners Pariya Juhnasavasdik of Thailand and Australia`s Scott Hend are among the seven players occupying the fifth spot jointly on 68 at the Hildesheim Country Club.
The 12th leg of the Asian Tour schedule for 2012 Volvik Hildesheim Open features no less than 14 Asian Tour champions who hold no fewer than 30 victories accumulated between them.