Sweden’s Henrik Stenson leads a strong field at the HSBC Champions following a sublime opening round of 65 in Shanghai.  

In wet conditions some of the world’s finest assembled to kick-off the 2009 European Tour at the Sheshan International Golf Club.

Heading into the tournament Stenson spoke of his excitement at being involved in the Tour’s fresh format. 

“It’s a brand new era that we are starting with The Race to Dubai and it is going to be very exciting to be part of it,” he said.

“It’s going to be a long season with a lot of good tournaments leading up to the Dubai World Championship and as I like it down in Dubai, I wouldn’t mind playing well in the final as well.”

HSBC Champions round one pictures

Queuing up behind the Swede in second is Phil Mickelson – the defending champion and world No.2.

The four-way tie for second also includes Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, and Australian Adam Scott.

Not far off the lead is Irishman Padraig Harrington, who carded a tidy 69, and he sits alongside Order of Merit champion Robert Karlsson, on three-under.

This season, the Race to Dubai replaces the Order of Merit and the top 60 will compete for the Dubai World Championship next November.