<
>

Justin Rose trails leaders by 1 at Hong Kong Open

HONG KONG -- Andrea Pavan of Italy made four birdies on his last six holes to take a share of the lead after the first round of the Hong Kong Open with a 6-under 64.

Pavan was tied with Lu Wei-chih of Taiwan, a stroke ahead of a trio that included Justin Rose of England. Rose made four birdies on the back nine in a bogey-free round at the Fanling Course and was tied with Taiwanese player Cheng Tseung Pan and Jeev Milkha Singh of India.

"I was happy with my putting, although I did miss a couple [of birdies] which slid by," Rose said. "Yet it is a good start to the tournament."

Graeme McDowell was in a group of six players another shot back at the joint European Tour and Asian Tour event.

Ian Poulter, who made last-minute plans to play in the tournament, showed no effects of his late arrival to Hong Kong, shooting a 67. He landed late Wednesday night after a 15-hour flight from Florida.

Poulter's ranking dipped nine places to 51 at the start of the week, making him ineligible to play in the WGC-HSBC Champions and leaving him one short of the minimum number of 13 European Tour events to retain his membership for next season.

The Englishman was then handed a spot in Hong Kong by American Rich Beem, who had a sponsors' invite to the tournament but agreed to step aside for Poulter.

"I'm fairly happy with that result today, although I think I left a few out there. This course suits my game," Poulter said.