- Keegan Bradley holds a one-shot lead at the WGC event in Shanghai
- The American is two shots clear of a three-way tie for second position
- Rory McIlroy is on two-under as he bids to usurp Luke Donald in the European money list
U.S.PGA champion Keegan Bradley carded an opening round 65 to lead the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai on Thursday.
The American sits on seven-under-par at the Sheshan International Golf Club, two strokes clear of fellow-American Bo Van Pelt and Swedish duo Fredrik Jacobson and Alexander Noren.
World number three Rory McIlroy is tied for 18th on two-under, as the Northern Irishman tries to overhaul Luke Donald at the top of the European Tour money list.
Englishman Donald, who is absent from the tournament awaiting the birth of his second child, is attempting to become the first player to finish a season top of both the European and PGA Tour money lists.
Bradley, 26, has enjoyed a dream rookie year on the Tour, having clinched victory at the Byron Nelson Championship in addition to his win at 2011's final major in August.
The Vermont native, who was grouped with world No. 2 Lee Westwood and Australian Adam Scott, said he is enjoying playing in such distinguished company.
"Any time you can play well in a group like that, with Lee Westwood and Adam Scott, it feels very good," Bradley told the European Tour's official website.
"Especially in a tournament like this, the HSBC World Golf Championships. I'm just very proud of the way I played, and it's just a very rewarding round.
"For me, every week I'm amazed at who I'm around. To be in a group like that in this tournament and to play like that on this course is very rewarding and it means a lot to me."
There were four players on four-under at the end of day one, with England's Justin Rose, American David Toms, South Korea's K.J. Choi and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand tied for fifth position.
Nine men were tied for ninth one shot further back, including Westwood, Scott, former world No.1 Martin Kaymer and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell.
McIlroy, 22, is currently alongside 11 players including Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and 2010 European Ryder Cup teammates Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari.