Hua Hin: Shiv Kapur celebrated his 33rd birthday in style with a flawless six-under 66 that put him in a good position at the end of the first round of the inaugural US$2 million True Thailand Classic here on Thursday.
Kapur was placed sole fifth, two behind leader, Michael Hoey (64) and one behind David Lipsky of the US, who carded 65.
Anirban Lahiri, winner of the Malaysian Open last week opened steadily with a three-under 69, while other Indians disappointed. Jyoti Randhawa and SSP Chowrasia shot 71 each to be tied 55th, while Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh were 90th with rounds of 73 each. Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rahil Gangjee and Rashid Khan were in danger of missing the cut at 113th with 74 each.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, shot 67 and was tied sixth alongside six others, including Prom Meesawat and Australian Scott Hend.
Kapur also kept the bogeys off the card to keep himself in contention.
Despite nursing a cold, the birthday boy got off brightly with five birdies in his opening back-nine 10th. He added another birdie on six after the turn before returning home comfortably in 66.
"It's a nice present. You wake up in the morning hoping for a good day because you don't want to be grumpy for the rest of the day. I couldn't have asked for a better result.
"They keep saying beware of the sick golfer and it seems to work. Hopefully I can stay sick and keep playing the way I am!," laughed Kapur.
"I couldn't have asked for a better result. It all comes down to holing a few putts and early on I managed to do that, which set the tone for the rest of the day. I also put a new driver in the bag this week and it seems to be working. It has put a little bit more length as I'm getting onto all the par fives, which I don't remember doing here in the past. That made the difference," he added.
Teeing off in the morning, Hoey had set the early pace with an impressive course record 64 after firing eight birdies to take the opening honours. Chinese Taipei's Hung Chien-yao was in relaxed mood as he took his place among the leaders with a 65, sharing second place with Lipsky and Spaniard Carlos Pigem at the Black Mountain Golf Club.
Lipsky said, "I had a bad finish to the week in Malaysia but each and every week, I've been getting better and this is the first stretch of the year and my game is still in pretty good shape. It's always work in progress and I'm trying to get better all the time."
Hoey, a five-time European Tour winner, meanwhile took advantage of the early benign morning conditions to kick-start off his campaign promisingly.