Hong Kong Open: Graeme McDowell roars into the frame as Rose blooms
Justin Rose lived up to his billing as favourite as Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter ensured his last-minute dash to the Hong Kong Open was not a wasted journey.
Graeme McDowell is just two off the pace while world number seven Rose, the top ranked player in the field, carded a flawless five-under-par 65 to lie one shot off the lead shared by Italy's Andrea Pavan and Taiwan's Lu Wei-chih.
But Poulter was just two shots further back on three under as he looked to make the most of his dramatic late entry into the event, the 39-year-old only arriving in Hong Kong at 7pm on Wednesday.
Poulter followed birdies on the second and fifth with bogeys on the eighth and ninth to reach the turn in level par, but came home in 33 thanks to birdies on the 10th, 15th and 17th.
Lu carded eight birdies and two bogeys in his 64.
Lu's countryman CT Pan and India's Jeev Milka Singh were alongside Rose on five under, with Ulsterman McDowell (pictured), Oliver Fisher and Kevin Phelan among the group on four under.