France's Alexander Levy made the ideal start to his bid for a third victory of the season - and second in China - in the BMW Masters today.
Levy, who won the Volvo China Open in April and the rain-shortened Portugal Masters three weeks ago, carded a flawless opening 65 at a damp Lake Malaren to set the clubhouse target at seven-under-par.
Starting from the 10th, the 24-year-old birdied his first four holes and picked up another shot at the par-three 17th to reach the turn in 31, before further birdies at the second and ninth gave the world number 74 a two-shot lead over another in-form player, England's Oliver Wilson.
Wilson took 228 starts to win his first European Tour event, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the start of October, but was in contention for his second victory just two events later.
The 34-year-old former Ryder Cup player also started on the back nine and covered it in 32 thanks to birdies at the 13th, 15th, 17th and 18th, before picking up another shot on the third.
South African duo Branden Grace and Richard Sterne were safely in the clubhouse on four under par after rounds of 68, with Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell four under with six holes to play.
McDowell moved a shot closer to Levy with his third birdie in succession on the fourth, and the former US Open champion was joined on five under by Argentina's Emiliano Grillo, Germany's Marcel Siem and France's Romain Wattel.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who secured the winning point on his Ryder Cup debut, was a shot behind after completing an eventful 68 which featured a double-bogey seven on the third but also three birdies in his last four holes.
And Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose signed for a level-par 72 after recovering from four over par after his first four holes, the world number six having run up a triple-bogey eight on the par-five 13th.