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Campillo hunts more glory after stunning 65 in China

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Shenzhen (China) (AFP)

Spain's Jorge Campillo kept up his red-hot form with a flawless seven-under-par 65 to stand in a three-way tie for the lead after the first round of the 25th Volvo China Open on Thursday.

The Spaniard won his maiden European Tour title at the 229th attempt at Morocco's Trophee Hassan II last Sunday and showed no sign of slowing down in good scoring conditions in Shenzhen.

An eagle three at the par-five ninth, allied to four birdies saw him complete a stunning front nine in six under par at the rain-softened Genzon Golf Club layout.

A 20-foot putt to save par at the 12th crucially kept a bogey off his card and a further birdie at the par-five 17th saw him share top rung on a packed leaderboard with David Lipsky and Tapio Pulkkanen.

"I got a few nights sleep so it was good and I played all right," said Campillo of his dash across seven time zones from North Africa to play in the far east.

"The eagle on nine was the highlight. I hit a great hybrid on nine. I got an easy putt uphill and I made it.

"If I can keep playing like this I'll hopefully have a chance on the weekend."

American Lipsky and Finland's Pulkkanen, who both enjoyed top 10 finishes in Morocco, had set the early clubhouse target with their own rounds of 65 in the morning.

"I played well and I got my putter working today," said the in-form Lipsky who was fifth in Morocco. "I hit it all right, not great, but I think I holed 150 feet of putts today so that always helps."

- Wu leads home charge -

Pulkkanen, who finished eighth in Morocco, birdied four of his last six holes to join the American.

"I started slowly with only two birdies in the front nine but five birdies on the back nine so it was great," said Pulkkanen.

Wu Ashun and Jin Daxin led the home charge with a pair of 66s to lie just a shot adrift, in a tie for fourth alongside John Catlin.

"I will just stay with my game," said the 2015 China Open champion Wu. "A lot of things can happen, let's see."

Catlin was also trying not to get ahead of himself. "We have a long way to go ? 54 more holes ? so you've just got to keep going," said the American.

China's number one and crowd favourite Li Haotong received one of the biggest ovations of the day when he birdied the 18th in rain and near darkness to join an eight-way tie for seventh on five-under 67.

"It was a solid round," said the world number 39. "I played well today, only missed one green."

Li squeezed in the trip to his national open in between major commitments at the US Masters and the US PGA Championship this month and was rewarded by a massive gallery cheering his every move.

"It feels great, I hope they enjoyed the golf today and thanks for their supporting," said Li.

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