Australia's Todd Sinnott enjoyed a superb start on his first return to Japan since last November by carding a four-under-par 66 to lie just one shot back of the leaders after the opening round of the Asia Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup on Thursday.
The 29-year-old traded three birdies against a bogey to turn in 33 before picking two more shots at the Oarai Golf Club to finish joint third with two-time JGTO Order of Merit champion Shugo Imahira and American Berry Henson.
Kaito Onishi and Hiroshi Iwata set the early pace with a matching 65s.
New Zealand’s Ben Campbell also impressed as his opening 67 placed him sixth along with the likes of defending champion Rikuya Hoshino, current money leader Yuto Katsuragawa and world number one amateur Keita Nakajima.
"It was a good round. I enjoyed playing with Ben (Campbell). Had some good chat out there," said Sinnott, who won the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open for his sole JGTO victory to date.
"I really enjoyed the round, and I like the golf course. My putting was pretty solid. I hit it decent the first 14 holes. I didn’t hit it great on the last few holes. I struggled a bit there but was still able to hole some nice par putts.
"It's my first time playing this course. It’s hard. We were lucky because there wasn’t much wind this morning. When the wind or rain gets up, it can play very tough out there."
Sinnott, who is competing this season with a limited status after managing to finish in 30th place in the Final Qualifying Tournament, will be out to secure a good result to get himself a better re-rank in the later part of the JGTO season.
Meanwhile, Nakajima was not the only amateur to have started well. Australia’s Kazuma Kobori and New Zealand’s Jimmy Hydes, also justified the sponsors’ faith by returning 67s to be in the mix.
They are among the 20 amateur stars who have been extended an invitation to play in this week's event, which is known for being a strong advocator for junior golf development.