BEIJING – Alexander Levy shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Volvo China Open.
The Frenchman, who won the China Open in 2014, carded nine birdies in a bogey-free round at the Topwin Golf and Country Club to finish one stroke ahead of Pablo Larrazabal.
Levy is looking to become the first golfer to win the event twice and take his tally of European Tour wins to four.
''I played great,'' he said. ''I hit 18 greens today and had some good putts for birdie, two or three long putts that helped.''
Peter Hanson and James Morrison (both 67) were tied at 5 under with Raphael Jacquelin, Dean Burmester and George Coetzee.
Jorge Campillo and Yi Cao were among a group of golfers a further shot back.
Bernd Wiesberger, who won last week's Shenzhen International, was six strokes off the pace after a 69, tied at 3 under with defending champion Li Haotong.
Anthony Wall – making his 500th European Tour start this week – shot a 1-under 71, while Ryan Dillon (77) recorded the 14th hole-in-one of the season as he holed a 7-iron from 180 yards on the 13th.