(Reuters) - Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a suspended two-month ban for cheating in December, fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead at the European Tour’s China Open on Thursday.
The Englishman fired six birdies and a lone bogey in his round in Shenzhen to end the day tied with big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros at the top of a congested leaderboard.
“The first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time,” Dyson told the European Tour.
“I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”
The 36-year-old has enjoyed previous success in China, winning the event in 2000 as well as the Hong Kong and Macau Opens.
But it was in Shanghai in October where he was disqualified from the BMW Masters and hit with a fine for fixing a spike mark on the line of a putt that led to his suspended ban.
Quiros won the last of his six European Tour titles in 2011 and his world ranking has since slumped to 240 but the Spaniard showed that his game was heading in the right direction.
Four birdies and an eagle at the par-five 13th put him in pole position to end his trophy drought.
Defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia made a strong start in his bid to become the first man to successfully defend the title after a 68 left him in a group of six players tied for third.
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin was leading the tournament at six under before a horror quadruple-bogey eight on the par-four 15th threw his charge off course but he ended the day with a birdie for a three-under 69 and a share of ninth.
That scored was matched by England’s Ian Poulter, who had four birdies in his round to sit alongside compatriot Simon Khan and home favorite Wu Ashun.
World number three Henrik Stenson, who can jump ahead of Tiger Woods and take top spot in the rankings with victory in China, suffered a fourth bogey of the day on the last for a 71.
That was two better than U.S. PGA champion Jason Dufner.
Play was suspended due to darkness with five players yet to complete their opening rounds.
Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O'Brien