Levy hits the front at Lake Malaren with flawless 65

Frenchman eying his second win in China and third of the season

Frenchman Alexander Levy picked up where he left off in China by carding a flawless seven under par 65 in the first round of the BMW Masters.

The 24 year old won the China Open in April – his maiden European Tour victory – and on his return he again showed an affinity for the Far East at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, where he leads by one shot from Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, Argentinian Emiliano Grillo and fellow Frenchman Romain Wattel.

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is another shot back at five under, while his Ryder Cup team-mates Thomas Bjørn and Jamie Donaldson are at four under.

Levy, who won the rain-affected Portugal Masters three weeks ago, made light work of the wet conditions – which made the long course play even longer – starting his round with four consecutive birdies and finishing with another at the par four ninth.  

The BMW Masters is the first event of The Race to Dubai’s Final Series, a lucrative four-tournament swing which will also take in the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sport before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Levy probably wishes he could play in China every week.

I think this country likes me! This course is very similar to Shenzen and obviously I really liked that one when I won earlier this year" “The last three tournaments I’ve played very well and I’ve been very consistent. Today I missed just one fairway. I like to play this kind of golf and to be aggressive, and I need to be like this for the rest of the week. 

“You need to hit it long and straight here and I did that today. The course is very long and on the par fours you’re going into the green with a five or six iron. I like courses like that, and with the greens being soft you can go for the flags.

“I think this country likes me! This course is very similar to Shenzen and obviously I really liked that one when I won earlier this year.”

Colsaerts claimed a period of rest in Thailand has done him the world of good heading into the business end of the European 

After Hong Kong I spent a week in Thailand where my caddie, Brian, lives,” he said. “It was great. I didn’t really play that much, just chilled. It’s been a long couple of years, so I was due a week of doing nothing and I really enjoyed it.”

McDowell admitted the long-haul trip took its toll at the start of the week but it felling ready to make a challenge.

He said: “I got here Tuesday morning and I haven’t really been feeling my best the last couple of days. It’s my first long trip of the year and the body took a little bit of time to catch up. 

“Thankfully a couple of nights’ sleep and I felt much, much better this morning, and the energy level has felt good again. I generally swung the club quite well. Coming off the back of the World Match Play a couple weeks ago, I felt my game was in good shape. I’m obviously looking for a big finish to the season, and that was a nice way to start.” 

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