Rashid Khan was the best Indian at tied 26th on an otherwise disappointing first round for the Indians at the Asia-Pacific Open Mitsubishi Diamond Cup here on Thursday. (Rashid Khan mentally prepared for Asia-Pacific Open)
He shot an even par 70 with four birdies and four bogeys after starting from the tenth. Among the other Indians, Gaganjeet Bhullar, making a comeback from injury, shot two-over 72, as did Rahil Gangjee to be tied 62nd.
Digvijay Singh (74), Arjun Atwal (75), SSP Chawrasia (77), Jyoti Randhawa (77) and amateur Viraj Madappa (78) were all in danger of missing the cut.
Scott Strange of Australia continued his career renaissance when he fired a six-under-par 64 to lead in the opening round.
The 38-year-old struggled in his career when he lost his sister and mother to cancer in 2008 and 2009 respectively but he is slowly returning to his best form as he showed at the challenging Otone Country Club, West Course where he leads by two shots.
Richard T. Lee of Canada, ranked sixth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Wonjoon Lee of Australia and Akio Sadakata of Japan trail in second place after shooting matching 66s at the Y150 million (approximately USD 1.2 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Thailand's Panuphol Pittarat and Prayad Marksaeng, who is a nine-time Asian Tour winner, Kyungtae Kim of Korea and last year's runner-up Jason Knutzon of the United States were a further shot back in tied fifth place.
Defending champion Hiroyuki Fujita struggled to a 71 while popular Japanese Ryo Ishikawa carded a 69 to trail the leader by five shots.