Louis & Scott Share Lead WGC-HSBC Champions

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott each carded 7-under 65s to rise to the top of the leaderboard in the WGC-HSBC Champions. The $7 million event began Thursday on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong, China.

Both began play on the 10th tee. The 30-year-old Oosthuizen carded seven birdies, while the 32-year-old Aussie posted six birdies, an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole (his 18th), and a bogey on the par-3 17th (his eighth).

"If I can keep doing what I'm doing on the par-5s, you know, hitting the fairways and leaving myself with the irons or a 5-wood or something, you've got a good chance," Oosthuizen said.

Scott was also pleased with his round. "It was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day," Scott said. "With five par-5s, it kind of sets up well for my game, and the plan is to just take advantage of the '5s' and hopefully hang in there with the leaders all week."

Tied for third after 66s are Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Peter Hanson and Shane Lowry, while another stroke back sit Dustin Johnson and Thailand's Prom Meesawat.

Mickelson is playing competitively for the first time since the Ryder Cup four weeks ago. Like Scott, the 42-year-old four-time major champion ended his round on a high note with an eagle on his last hole, the ninth.

"It was a great way to finish with an eagle. I was hoping just to make birdie on the last hole," said Mickelson, who also carded four birdies on the day. "I think the reason I was so calm today was I drove the ball extremely well and hit every fairway."

Hanson is coming off a one-stroke win over Rory McIlroy in last week's BMW Masters in Shanghai. On Thursday, he continued his hot play with seven birdies and a bogey. If the Swede wins this week and pockets the $1.2 top prize, he'll overtake McIlroy on the European Tour's money list with only four events left.

"It's nice to get off to a good start, of course, coming off last week," said Hanson. "You try to save a bit of energy the last couple of days and try to be ready for today. I've been on the road now for three or four weeks. Just need to keep your head fresh and this is a very demanding golf course. You can make some easy mistakes around here."

Seven players opened with 68s. The group includes defending champion Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Jason Dufner.

Other scores included a 71 by 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley, 72s by Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker, a 75 by 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, and an 83 by South Africa's Jbe' Kruger, who was in contention in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

For complete scoring details, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/leaderboards/current/r489/index.html.