Still riding on the high of securing his Asian Tour card for the season, Singapore's Quincy Quek carried that positive feeling into yesterday's opening round of the SMBC Singapore Open.
The 28-year-old hardly put a foot wrong at the Sentosa Golf Club as he fired three birdies on holes 2, 16, and 18. Crucially, Quek returned with a blemish-free scorecard for a three-under 68.
It left him joint-sixth alongside Japan's Hideto Tanihara and India's Rahil Gangjee in the 156-man field and two shots adrift of surprise leader Keith Horne of South Africa.
Quek, whose best finish at the Singapore Open was a joint-33rd placing in 2007 as an amateur, said: "Any time you step off this golf course without making any bogeys, you get to be really happy with yourself."
He was also delighted with his ball-striking throughout his round as he hit 16 of Serapong's 18 greens.
"I hit it well from tee to green, gave myself lots of opportunities and sank some birdies to keep the round going," he said.
Regarded as one of the Republic's most promising talents before he turned pro in 2009, Quek has yet to reach the heights of his amateur career, with his most noteworthy victory being the 2012 Orchard Golf Championship in the Philippines on the lower-tier Asian Development Tour (ADT).
He spent the past two seasons plying his trade on the PGA Tour China before deciding to try his luck again on the Asian Tour.
Quek finished joint-35th at the Tour's Qualifying School earlier this month in Hua Hin, Thailand and was tied for 11th at last week's The Players Championship, an ADT event at Raffles Country Club here.
"That was quite a boost for me," he said. "Overall, the game's looking quite solid and I'm really pleased with today's round."
It was a mixed day for the rest of the 12-man local brigade at the US$1 million (S$1.44 million) event co-sanctioned by the Asian and Japanese Tours.
National golfer Gregory Foo, who won the Singapore Open Amateur Championship last July to earn his spot at this week's marquee tournament, shot 71 and is tied-35th.
Singapore No. 1 Mardan Mamat recovered from a triple-bogey seven on the 439m, par-four third and closed with two birdies for a 73 and is joint-79th.
It was a tough day for Lam Chih Bing, who got off to a bad start and was seven-over in his first seven holes and signed for a 79. He is in a tie for 151st.