Hong Kong Open drawcard Shane Lowry narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole at the end of a steady if unspectacular opening round, but signed for a 1-under par 69 on Thursday. The reigning British Open Champion was among the first to finish on a calm first day of action at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. His playing partner, Thai sensation Jazz Janewattananond, who was named Asian player of the year at a gala awards ceremony on Tuesday night, bettered the Irishman by a stroke to take a share of fourth place in the clubhouse early on day one. The clubhouse lead is currently held by Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul and South Korean Kim Jooh-yung, who each carded 3-under par. . @ShaneLowryGolf just loves coming back to #HongKong and is aiming to leave with the #TheHKOpen | #CelebratingChampions | #Since1959 pic.twitter.com/q27Sbw9oz1 — Hong Kong Open (@TheHKOpen) January 8, 2020 Lowry’s round included two bogeys and three birdies as the world number 19 shook off some festive season rust in his first round of the new year. “It’s my first round in like eight weeks so it’s all well and good,” Lowry said. “I played lovely yesterday in the pro-am and felt like I was hitting it well, but with a scorecard in your pocket it’s a little bit different. So, I’m happy with that as my first round of the year and I think I can build on that going forward over the next few days.” The Irishman also reserved warm praise for the beleaguered Fanling course saying: “The course set-up is very good. It’s a great golf course. You play on so many golf courses around the world – I’ve played in the PGA Tour and the European Tour, and you play golf courses where you don’t even think about it and hit the driver everywhere. Around here you really have to think about it off the tee. “It’s a golf course where if you’re aggressive and hit good shots you will get rewarded. But if you hit bad shots you could end up with bogeys and double bogeys.” Unfortunately, that turned out to be true for Hong Kong’s Wilson Choy, who endured a chastening opening round. He carded an 82 including seven bogeys and three double bogeys.