Tiger Woods claimed 10 birdies but ended the first day one shot off the lead after the opening round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
GB & Ire unless stated
-8 N Dougherty, Pa Lawrie, P O'Malley (Aus)
-7 KJ Choi (Kor), RJ Derksen (Ned), D Howell, T Woods (US)
-6 M Campbell (NZ), K Ferrie
-5 T Bjorn (Den), I Poulter, V Singh (Fij), P Casey
-3 P Harrington
-2 L Westwood
+2 C Montgomerie
Woods fired a seven-under-par 65 and is one behind leaders Paul Lawrie of Scotland, England's Nick Dougherty and Australian Peter O'Malley.
England's David Howell also shot 65, while Vijay Singh ended on five under.
Colin Montgomerie, who won the European Order of Merit two weeks ago, could only record a two-over-par 74.
The Scot had two birdies and two bogeys in the opening nine holes but had a double-bogey six at his last.
Woods, playing alongside Montgomerie, had a storming start and carded six birdies on his outward nine.
He added another four birdies coming in but was left bemused when his tee shot at the ninth, his last, plugged in a bunker.
"I've never seen anything like it, he said. "It was unbelievable. I hit a three wood into the middle of the bunker and buried it.
"That's not something I'm used to seeing, not off the tee but 10 birdies offsets three bogeys and I hit the ball really well."
Dougherty, who won his first European Tour victory in Singapore in January, produced sparkling golf in his 64.
He made the perfect start with three straight birdies and ended with a four-iron to six feet for an eagle on the 538-yard 18th.
The 23-year-old Liverpudlian is dreaming of being paired with Woods for the final round on Sunday.
"I'm extremely happy with my golf game - the progress I made last year is continuing," said Dougherty.
"I idolise Tiger Woods. He is everything I would like to be.
"If my dreams come true I might be that good one day and what better chance to look at him than in the final round of a tournament he is trying to win."
O'Malley had seven successive birdies mid-round which is one short of the European Tour record.
Former Open champion Lawrie, who only received an invite for the event last week, joined the leaders courtesy of a closing birdie, his eighth of the day.
The tournament is the opening event of the 2006 European Tour season.
It is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour and the China Golf Association.