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Pair joint top in China start


Shane Lowry. Picture: Ian Walton/GETTY IMAGES

Shane Lowry. Picture: Ian Walton/GETTY IMAGES

Shane Lowry. Picture: Ian Walton/GETTY IMAGES

ALVARO QUIROS and Simon Dyson share the lead following the opening round of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen as they both go in search of their first European Tour win since 2011.

Michael Hoey was best of the Irish on three under, but could only follow that up today with a level par round, which meant he fell down the leaderboard considerably as Frenchman Alexander Levy became the clubhouse leader on 14 under.

Two birdies on the opening two holes for Quiros gave the Spaniard a superb start to the tournament and the 31-year-old built on that, adding an eagle at the par-five 13th with two further birdies to card a five-under-par round of 67, having only dropped one shot at the 10th.

Improving Quiros was happy with his start and believes it shows he is steadily improving. He said: "It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle. My game is improving. You can't see it yet on the rankings, but I have been playing better."

Dyson, whose last tournament success came in the 2011 KLM Open, carded three birdies on both the front and back nine to keep the pace alongside Quiros, with a bogey on the first the only blot on the Brit's scorecard.

Five players failed to finish their rounds as fading light meant play was suspended and the leaders do not have much breathing space heading into today's second round, with Dyson's compatriots David Hornsey and Tyrrell Hatton just a shot adrift alongside defending champions Brett Rumford.

World number three Henrik Stenson can overhaul Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings with victory in Shenzen and he started steadily to finish his opening round on one-under par and four shots off the lead, while other big names Jason Dufner and Ian Poulter had differing days.

American Dufner, ranked 17th in the world, bogied three on the back nine to end one over par, while Poulter tied for ninth on three under par.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is taking a long-term view of his return to action and is thinking about "the next 10 or 15 years, not the next 10 weeks", according to his agent. The 14-time major winner missed this month's Masters for the first time in 20 years after undergoing surgery to correct a problem with a pinched nerve in his back on March 31.

His agent, Mark Steinberg, said: "He's doing a little bit more and more each day. He's getting to the point of light chipping and putting and the doctors and trainers seem to be pleased with where he is.

"He is on schedule, but we don't know what that schedule means. I don't know when he intends to be playing competitively, but I expect it to be this summer.

"I've seen a very responsible approach (from Woods) to getting back. This is about the next 10 or 15 years, this is not about the next 10 weeks. This is not about targeting any specific tournament. If he needs to wait one or two or three extra weeks, he will. He's thinking about this very, very long term."