Levy takes early BMW Masters lead

Alexander Levy carded a seven-under-par 65 to claim a one-stroke lead of the BMW Masters after Thursday’s first round.

Starting his round from the 10th, the 24-year-old Frenchman notched birdies on his first three holes before another birdie at the 17th saw him turn with a score of 31.

On the back nine, the world number 74 carded two more birdies to notch a faultless round in the opening salvo of the European Tour’s four-event Final Series on his card.

The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is next week, followed by the Turkish Airlines Open and World Tour Championship in Dubai, which brings the European Tour season to a close.

“I played very good today,” Levy told the European Tour’s official website after his round.

“The last three tournaments I did that, and I did it again today.

“It’s what I want in my game, to be consistent on the golf course and I like when I am bogey-free.

“I missed one fairway I think today and I’m still aggressive on the golf course and I like to play this golf and I need to be thinking like that for the rest of the week.

“I think this country likes me! For me, this golf course is pretty much the same of Shenzhen. I like this type of golf course with water and the target golf.”

One stroke behind the leader in a tie for second place after rounds of 66 are Nicolas Colsaerts, Emiliano Grillo and Romain Wattel.

Northern Ireland’s Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was the leading player of the victorious Ryder Cup contingent after a round of 67, while Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Bjorn both shot 68.

Last year’s winner, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, started his title defence with an even par 72.