McGrane hot as McGinley goes cold

Damien McGrane got off to a hot start as Paul McGInley battled an "ice cold" putter in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The Kells kingpin hit a two under par 68 in his first official start of the 2007 season as McGinley, Peter Lawrie and Gary Murphy all struggled.

As McGrane fired four birdies and two bogeys in his round to trailed leaders Jose Manuel Lara and Jyoti Randhawa by just four shots, McGinley finished the day in 81st place after a one over par 71.

The three-time Ryder Cup winner double bogeyed the first and while he birdied the third and fifth he dropped another shot at the ninth and parred his way home.

McGinley groaned: "It's a battle when you double bogey the first. The putter just went ice cold. I played pretty solid but there was just no return on the greens."

McGrane got to three under par after eight holes but bogeyed the 11th and 16th against a birdie at the 12th for his 68.

Dubliner Lawrie birdied four of his first five holes after starting at the 10th but bogeyed three on the trot from the 18th and and then dropped two more strokes in the last four holes for a 71.

Murphy signed for a three over par 73 and needs a low round today to get his 2007 campaign off to a positive start.

Spaniard Lara and Indian Randhawa finished with a one-shot lead on top of the leaderboard after carding six under par 64s.

Just a week after leading the HSBC Champions tournament at halfway, Randhawa said: "The confidence from Shanghai last week is spilling over into this week, especially playing in the lead group for the last two days and with Tiger Woods on the third day.

"I learnt a lot. I learnt to handle myself better."

Former US Open champion Michael Campbel joined McGrane on two under but South African Retief Goosen had to settle for a level par 70.

Defending champion Colin Montgomerie fired a one under par 69 but needs to putt better to continue his run of one year every year since 1993.

He sighed: "I just putted horrendously. Never mind. Just try and make the cut tomorrow I suppose. I'm striking the ball fine. Just didn't score."