Irish duo Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey refuse to concede that their Omega World Cup bid is mission impossible.

The Ulstermen opened with a six under par 66 to keep their chances of victory intact at Mission Hills in China.

Regarded as complete no-hopers before the start, the Challenge Tour pair can make a major move up the leaderboard in today's foursomes as they start the day tied for 18th with Australia, Canada, Sweden and Paraguay.

But they have work to do to catch Americans Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum, who cracked an 11 under par 61 to lead by a shot from Germans Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka.

Back woods star Weekley, famous for wrestling alligators with his pals, said he would have spent Thanksgiving deer hunting back home in the US

But he did get an eagle when he holed a six-iron from 185 yards on the 12th with former High School pal Slocum also making eagle with a 25 foot putt at the third.

Asked what he knew about China, Weekley saidd: "Not much ... Oh yeah, I knew the Great Wall of China but I thought it was closer."

Weekley's caddie Joe Pyle didn't get to Mission Hills until late on Wednesday after being detained in Hong Kong for not having the correct visa.

Weekley said: "I walked in at about six and he was asleep, and he slept all the way until about four this morning

"He said he was ready to get after it, and that's what we did today."

Disappointed over the lack of time to be a tourist, Weekley added: "We go straight to the motel and straight here, but I know the people here are friendly. It's very nice.

"They always say 'Hey,' so polite and stuff. That's always a plus when you show up somewhere in a foreign country."

English duo Justin Rose and Ian Poulter made amends for England's Euro 2008 calamity at Wembley with a nine under par 63.

Rose awoke early for Thursday's first round to find England trailing 2-0 at half-time against Croatia.

Poulter discovered news of their 3-2 defeat a few hours later but they mae amends with a 63 that left them tied for third with Finland, Wales, Scotland, South Africa and Thailand.

Dressed in matching red and white outfits, the pair hope to restore English pride on Sunday night.

Poulter said: "It was a little disappointing when you wake up in the morning in anticipation to get to the laptop and find out they had lost. We hope we can put things right by the end of the week.

"I think we are both very happy to be in the position we are in, nine under par is a very good score."

Rose added: "I think we played steadily. We didn't make too many birdies or too many putts, but we made key putts.

"We didn't make any mistakes and didn't make any bogeys - which is obviously what kills you out there."

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren combined to card an impressive 63.

Monty said: "We did very well. We got off to a good start, which is important in fourball.

"We birdied the first two holes and settled down a bit, before we got another seven from there.

"I thought that a six or seven under would be good, and we got an extra two. It has put us in a good position for tomorrow."


Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Mission Hills GC (Olazabal Course), Mission Hills, China (Par 72)

61 Slocum/Weekley (USA)

62 Cejka/Kaymer (Ger)

63 Goosen/Immelman (Rsa), Jaidee/Marksaeng (Tha), Dodd/Dredge (Wal), Montgomerie/Warren (Sco), Ilonen/Purhonen (Fin), Poulter/Rose (Eng)

64 Havret/Jacquelin (Fra), Brier/Grenier (Aut)

65 Liang Wen-Chong/Zhang Lian-Wei (Chn), Derksen/Lafeber (Ned), Hansen A/Hansen S (Den), Ghei/Randhawa (Ind), Lee Seung-Ho/Lee Sung (Kor), Gonzalez/Romero (Arg), Molinari E/Molinari F (Ita)

66 Green/O'Hern (Aus), Franco/Zanotti (Par), Hanson/Karlsson (Swe), Weir/Heffernan (Can), Hoey/Maybin (Irl)

67 Jimenez/Lara (Spa), Tanihara/Hiratsuka (Jpn), Lascina/Rosales (Phi), Lee/Scahill (Nzl)

68 Morales/Suarez Puerto Rico (Pue), Benedetti/Mendoza (Col)