Melbourne: Gaganjeet Bhullar tuned himself up nicely for next week's World Cup with an opening round of two-under 69 that positioned him in tied 12th place at the Talisker Masters on an emotional first day at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Bhullar's teammate at the World Cup, Anirban Lahiri shot two-over 73 to be tied 55th.
Starting from 10th, Bhullar had a bogey on 12th but a birdie on 15th and a dropped shot on 16th meant he turned in one-over. A bogey on first pushed him to two-over but on the very next hole, the par-5 second, the Indian landed an eagle to get back to even par.
Thereafter he birdied fourth and ninth to finish at 69.
Lahiri had two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on 15th.
Nick Cullen took the first round as he fired an opening round of six-under 65 which was highlighted by his hole out eagle on the par-4 11th on the composite course. Cullen who achieved the eagle from 59 metres with a 60 degree wedge.
Just two shots behind Cullen is defending champion Adam Scott and German Maximillian Kieffer.
Rounding out the top-5 on the leaderboard is a group of eight players at 3-under 68. They include Anthony Brown, Stephen Leaney, Peter O'Malley, Brett Rankin, Nathan Holman, New Zealander Ryan Fox and Zimbabwean Brendon De Jonge.
It was an emotional day as Jarrod Lyle returned to Professional golf.
Lyle, who has now beaten acute myeloid leukaemia not once but twice in his 32 years, last played competitively at the 2012 Mayakoba Classic in Mexico at the end of February 2012.
Posting a 1-over the card, Lyle was pleased to have the first round under his belt and is aiming to make the weekend rounds.