The 63s that Harrington and Bennet carded on Thursday match the course record for the Bukit Course at Singapore Island Country Club. Mike McLean established the original mark in 1993 when the Johnnie Walker Classic was staged at this venue.
Harrington, who lost on the third playoff hole to Vijay Singh last week in Malaysia, started Thursday's first round at the 10th tee and parred his first five holes. The round turned for Harrington with an eagle at the par-five 15th but he dropped a stroke at the next hole for a front-nine 35.
The back-nine for Harrington consisted of three separate birdie runs. The Irishman birdied his opening two holes before he took a break from making birdies at three. Harrington then ran home three birdies in a row, starting at the fourth.
The Irishman birdied the last two holes for a back-nine 28.
Bennett opened with four pars before he went into red figures for the first time with a birdie at number-four. He added a birdie at seven for a two-under 33.
Like Harrington, Bennett racked up birdies in bunches on his second nine. Bennett posted a birdie at 10 and then carded back-to- back birdies at 12 and 13.
Bennett finished the round with three birdies in a row, starting at 15.
Singh heads the group of golfers one shot behind. Maarten Lafeber, Frankie Minoza and Anthony Wall joined the reigning Masters champion in second place at minus-seven.
Richard Green is alone in seventh after he shot a six-under 65 on Thursday.
Colin Montgomerie, who won for the first time in Australia last week, is three shots off the pace at five-under. This is Monty's first start on the European Tour in the 2001 campaign.
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