Peter Lawrie recovered from a horror start to challenge for the Volvo China Open.

The Dubliner, 31, opened with a disastrous double bogey six at the 10th hole but then played the remainder in an immaculate five under par to post a first round 69.

His three under par effort left him just four shots behind leaders Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand and Frenchman Francois Delamontagne who hit 65s.

But there were also solid starts by Kells’s Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy of The Heritage as they fired one under par rounds of 71.

Challenge Tour graduates Michael Hoey and David Higgins also started solidly with rounds of 72 and 73.

But the real surprise of the day was provided by veteran Barry Lane.

The former Ryder Cup player, 45, upstaged the young guns with a five under par 67 in his 542nd European Tour event.

That put him well clear of Paul Casey and defending champion Stephen Dodd, who carded rounds of 71.

Lane enjoyed his round even more thanks to the presence of his wife Camilla on his bag.

He said: “It's good fun, although she gets to see what I'm like on the course - a grumpy old man.

“It's nice to strike a blow for the older guys. Between us my team in the pro-am was 240 years old and one of my playing partners today, Boonchu Ruangkit, is 49 and he shot the same score as me.

“It's hard travelling but fortunately Camilla has not done as much travelling and she loves it so that makes my life a lot easier.”

Lawrie’s stunning opening effort gives him a solid platform to launch an attack on his first European Tour win.

His best chance so far came in the 2003 Spanish Open in Tenerife, when he lost to current Smurfit European Open champion Kenneth Ferrie in a play-off.

Voted Rookie of the Year in 2003, he has consolidated his place on tour since then with earnings of over €1 million in the space of three years.

Murphy was three under par after just six holes of his round but dropped three shots on the trot at the start of his back nine before rounding off with a birdie at the eighth.

McGrane birdied the 18th to begin the 2006 season with a sub par 71 while Hoey marked his first event as a European Tour player with three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey for level par 72.

Higgins, who also graduated from the Challenge Tour for his third stint on the main tour, opened with a double bogey.

A eagle at the par five eighth helped him turn in level par before he picked up a shot at the par three 13th.

However, bogeys at the 15th and 16th left him with a sour taste in his mouth. 

First round Volvo China Open, Shenzhen Golf Club, China (Par 72)

65 Chawalit Plaphol (Tha), Francois Delamontagne (Fra)

67 Barry Lane, Boonchu Ruangkit (Tha)

68 Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), Simon Yates, Johan Skold (Swe), Miles Tunnicliff, Oliver Wilson, Andrew Butterfield



69 Peter Lawrie

71 Gary Murphy, Damien McGrane

72 Michael Hoey

73 David Higgins