PETALING JAYA: Australian Sam Brazel reeled in a five-under 66 to share the opening round lead with local talent James Ryan Lam at the US$300,000 (RM983,000) Solaire Open in Manila.
Brazel snared six birdies and one bogey while James posted a flawless round to spearhead the local challenge at the demanding The Country Club, which is hosting its first Asian Tour event.
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, a two-time Asian Tour winner, trailed by one shot to tie for third as they took advantage of the relatively calm morning conditions.
The 35-year-old Brazel felt right at home in his debut appearance at The Country Club as he negotiated his way around the tricky greens in 25 putts.
“This is my first time here and I enjoy the layout. The wind is a bit tricky but I holed some nice putts which makes it a little bit easier,” said Brazel.
Defending champion Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan fired a 70 to tie at 18th after being punished with a double bogey when his wayward second shot on hole 18 landed in the water.