CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland (AP) — Anirban Lahiri of India shot 8-under 63 to lead the European Masters first round by two strokes on Thursday.
The 178th-ranked Lahiri fired two eagles and five birdies in the Swiss Alps sunshine, and headed Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Englishmen Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood in a three-way tie for second.
Last year, Lahiri followed an opening 66 on the Severiano Ballesteros course at Crans-sur-Sierre club with 81 and missed the halfway cut. "It's nice to be back with a bang," Lahiri said. "Obviously a tough pill to swallow last year and I have learned a lot from that."
He is a three-time career winner on the Asian Tour which jointly sanctions the Swiss event with the European Tour. Thomas Bjorn, the 2011 champion from Denmark, went round in 66 to be alone at 5 under.
Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, the winning Europe Ryder Cup captain last year, was among six players on 4 under. The highest ranked player in the field, No. 31 Matteo Manassero of Italy, was joined on 1 under by three-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
Defending champion Richie Ramsay of Scotland shot a 2-over 73. Thirteen-year-old Ye Wocheng of China carded a 7-over 78, after making double-bogey at three of his first four holes having started his morning round from the 10th.