'A pair of guys got six under today and this is a good score on any course. But I'm pleased to be where I am,' says American Fred Couples was busily planning his after-golf entertainment with a satisfied look on his face last night having shot a respectable three-under-par 68 to lie three shots off the pace at the end of the opening round of the US$275,000 tournament. Couples, who likes to wager a bit now and then on the gaming boards at Las Vegas, is very much at home in this gamblers' paradise. But first things first - and the American kept his mind on the task of jockeying himself into a good position at the end of day one of this 12th leg of the Asian Tour. 'It was a really good score,' said Couples happily. 'Tomorrow is another day and the conditions can change. But today I needed to score a below-par round. You have to shoot these scores if you expect to win a tournament. You can't win by shooting even par.' The dreaded wind which normally turns some holes at the par-71 Macau Golf and Country Club layout into a crap shoot, was missing all day yesterday. The calm conditions resulted in a lot of low scores all round and Couples knew he had to make the most of this opportunity. 'A three-under-par round is not a bad round. But a pair of guys got six under today and this is a good score on any course. But I'm pleased to be where I am. There was not too much of strategy with the wind today but this could change,' Couples said. The 1992 US Masters champion, the big-name player in this year's event, hit five birdies and two bogeys. Most of his birdies were simple tap-ins with the longest putt being a 12-footer at the par-four seventh. 'I would have liked to have made a couple more birdies. I had my chances, especially at the ninth hole where I missed a four-footer. But I'm happy. I played well and I hit the ball well,' added Couples. Playing alongside Couples in the same flight was defending champion Jason Knutzon, who went one better and finished with a four-under-par 67 to be two shots off the pace. Knutzon had one bogey at the par-three 11th hole in an otherwise flawless round. 'Being an American, it was a great feeling playing with Couples. It was a lot of fun. It is a good start for me and hopefully this form will continue,' said Knutzon, who is bidding to emulate the feat of China's Zhang Lianwei (2001 and 2002) and win back-to-back titles here. Knutzon, who has been struggling this past year with his putting, has gone back and picked the old putter he used to win this tournament last year. And it seemed to have worked as he rolled in five birdies, two of them in the last four holes. 'I putted a lot better today and I'm feeling confident. It is a great start but there is a long way to go,' added Knutzon. The third member of the flight, Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, could not follow in the same vein as his colleagues, scrambling to an even-par 71. He is six shots behind the pace-setters, a distance easily bridgeable for Wiratchant. The Thai is currently lying in second place on the Asian Tour money list and is looking to supplant compatriot Thongchai Jaidee by Sunday. He will need to follow more closely in the footsteps of Knutzon and Couples if he is to achieve this target. Thongchai is not playing in Macau.