Hong Kong overcame a poor start to kept their Putra Cup hopes alive on the opening day at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club yesterday. Spearheaded by Jason Hak Shun-yat, 17, the Hong Kong team rallied on the back nine to end the first round in third place on seven-over-par 217, seven shots behind leaders Indonesia. Singapore, are in second spot on 215 with three rounds to play. Hong Kong haven't won the Southeast Asia team championship since the inaugural tournament in 1961, a fact that didn't look like changing after the young team - also including Liu Lok-tin, Shinichi Mizuno and Terrence Ng - struggled to find their way in the early stages. But with Hak finishing in 71, and Mizuno and Ng both playing the closing stretch in two under for matching 73s, national coach Brad Schadewitz had reason to be optimistic. 'We got off to a very poor start and after nine holes were in real trouble,' Schadewitz said. 'You can't win any event on the first day but you can certainly lose it, so I was proud of the way the guys fought back. There's room for improvement but the important thing is we're still confident of doing well and closing the gap at the top of the leader board.' Florida-based Hak, who has returned to the Hong Kong team after success in the United States which has seen him climb to number two in the US national junior rankings, wasn't at his best on an ideal day for scoring, but echoed his coach's optimism. 'My short game saved me today,' Hak said after a one-over-par effort left him in a share of third spot in the individual standings, two shots behind Indonesia's George Gandranata. 'I left a lot of birdie putts short of the hole. I couldn't quite get the pace of the greens, but overall we're in a good position to contend over the next few days.' In the women's Santi Cup, which is being played concurrently with the Putra Cup, Hong Kong, led by Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching's level-par 70, ended the day in third spot behind the Philippines and Thailand.