Tokyo: Japan`s Yuki Inamori stole the thunder from a strong field with a birdie blitz on Thursday, firing a seven-under-par 64 for a one stroke lead after the first round of the Dunlop Phoenix tournament.
Aided by a red-hot putter, the 20-year-old carded nine birdies against two bogeys to reach the clubhouse with a narrow advantage over Australia`s Brendan Jones in Miyazaki, western Japan.
"I made some big putts and that`s always important to give you momentum," said Inamori, who hails from nearby Kagoshima prefecture and is chasing his first career win.
"It`s a great start to the tournament and puts me in a nice position."
The Dunlop Phoenix boasts an illustrious roll-call of former winners, including Tiger Woods (2004-05), Tom Watson (1980, 1997) and Seve Ballesteros (1977, 1981).
Japan`s Hideki Matsuyama, who recorded his maiden victory on the US PGA Tour at the Memorial Tournament earlier this year, shot a 68 while domestic rival Ryo Ishikawa ended the day on even par 71.
But old-timer Tommy Nakajima, winner of the title back in 1985, upstaged the young guns, as the 60-year-old rolled back the years with a solid round of 67.
American Jordan Spieth, who finished joint runner-up to Bubba Watson at this year`s US Masters, fired a 69 along with Australians David Smail and Kurt Barnes. They were joined one two-under by South Korea`s Lee Kyoung-hoon.