Watson in his element at stormy Shenzhen
Five players shot 67 on day one of the Shenzhen International, but Bubba Watson went one better to lead at the end of a storm-hit Thursday.
Bubba Watson took satisfaction from a "great day and a good start" after claiming a one-shot lead on a weather-affected opening day of the Shenzhen International.
Watson, a winner on Chinese soil in 2014 at the WGC-HSBC Champions, moved to the top of the leaderboard courtesy of a six-under 66 that featured five birdies and an eagle at the long second.
Haydn Porteous, Maximilian Kieffer, Dean Burmester, Gregory Bourdy and Thongchai Jaidee all went round in 67, while three of the four players a shot further back were unable to complete their first rounds prior to play being suspended due to darkness, with an hour and 50 minutes having been lost earlier in the day due to the threat of lightning.
"You know anytime you shoot six under, shoot in the 60s, you’re happy with it," said Watson, who is the highest-ranked player in the field for this week's European Tour event.
"All in all, [it was] a great day and a good start.
"I just made putts. Most of my swings and most of my shots were really good and there were no bad swings in there, so it just made the score better."
Your first round leader— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 20, 2017
Bubba's lowest round of the year. pic.twitter.com/qchiLfkJit
Of those sharing second place overnight, Frenchman Bourdy was the only player to keep a bogey off his card.
Porteous carded a remarkable 10 birdies, including gains at the final three holes, but also bogeyed three holes and ran up a seven at the par-five ninth.
Dylan Frittelli carded a 68, while Thorbjorn Olesen, Bernd Wiesberger and Edoardo de la Riva were also two back but faced the prospect of completing their first rounds on Friday morning.