Scott surges in Shenzhen
What Adam Scott would have given at Lytham in July for the finish he produced in China on Thursday.
In danger of being remembered for a long time for bogeying the last four holes of The Open when four strokes clear, the 32-year-old Australian this time played his last three holes at Mission Hills in four under par.
That gave Scott a seven under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with South African Louis Oosthuizen - winner of The Open in 2010, but also with some major disappointment this season after losing a play-off for The Masters to Bubba Watson in April.
"It was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day," said Scott, who two-putted the long seventh, saw his tee shot to the eighth roll back down a slope to within a foot of the hole and then made a 10-footer for eagle at the 573-yard ninth.
"With five par fives it sets up well for my game and the plan is to just take advantage of them and hopefully hang in there with the leaders all week."
Having climbed the world rankings again - he is currently sixth - since switching to a long putter Scott was inevitably asked about the possible banning of the club.
A statement is expected from golf's governing bodies in the next few months and Scott stated: "What's their criteria for having a look at it? No-one's given me a good reason yet.
"I'd still be surprised if they could completely outlaw anchoring putting, but you'd have to deal with that if it were to be brought in.
"For me personally I don't feel it's as big a deal maybe as for some others. I've played at a high level with both styles of putting.
"If you look at the stats this year it doesn't say I'm putting that much better, but I enjoy playing golf with the long one.
"You have to read the green and you have to hit it at the right speed. All of putting is still a learned skill no matter what way you do it."
Oosthuizen has finished fourth and sixth on his last two starts and did not drop a stroke in his 65.
"I don't think I saw a really low number out there," he said, "but once you look at the leaderboard and see the guys are firing it up, all of a sudden you started seeing birdies.
"I made five birdies on the par fives and that got the round going. I hit a few bad iron shots, but made good up-and-downs for pars.
"You need to make putts. I've made a few nice ones today and that's normally the thing I struggle with."
Ireland's Shane Lowry is also a player in form. He won the Portugal Masters three weeks ago and was fifth at the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Sunday.
The 25-year-old had the chance to hit the headlines again when he reached eight under with two to play, but he missed the green at the short 17th and also bogeyed the last after driving into a bunker.
That dropped Lowry, winner of the Irish Open an an amateur three years ago, into a tie for third with Watson, four-time major champion Phil Mickelson and last week's winner Peter Hanson.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed bogeying the last two," Lowry commented. "I felt like I had the ball on a string all day and felt like it came very easy to me today.
"But six under is a good score out there and I'm looking forward to the next few days."
If Hanson was to triumph again he would go top of the European Tour money list ahead of Rory McIlroy, the player he held off when they went head-to-head last weekend.
World top two McIlroy and Tiger Woods are controversial notable absentees this week, having preferred to play a money-spinning head-to-head in China on Monday before going their separate ways -
McIlroy to watch tennis girlfriend Carolina Wozniacki in Bulgaria.
The Northern Irish star is back for next week's Singapore Open and then his defence of the Hong Kong Open before the race-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai, but Hanson has not yet ruled out seeking a late invitation to Singapore.
"I spoke to (Tour chief executive) George O'Grady about it," he said, "and I kind of told him that I'm going to wait till the end of this week.
"Hopefully I can be up there Sunday and we'll see how big of a gap it is."
Mickelson, chasing a third win in the event, matched Scott's closing eagle, while fellow left-hander Watson had one on the 11th to go along with seven birdies and three bogeys.
Luke Donald, who eagled the third, had a 68, while Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and defending champion Martin Kaymer are one further back and Lee Westwood produced three closing birdies for a 70.
Open champion Ernie Els had the same score on his return from an ankle injury, but Justin Rose, third on the European Order of Merit and like Hanson with an opportunity to go to number one, had to be content with a 72.