Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox has made a solid start to the Shenzhen International in China.

Fox shot a one-under par 71 in the first round of the European Tour event to be inside the top 20 early on the first day, five shots adrift of American Bubba Watson who set the clubhouse target at six-under par.

Fox had a string of four birdies in five holes to offset two early bogeys but gave a shot back soon after to sign for a 71.

The big-hitting Watson has been one of the headline acts in each of the first three editions of the event and arrived at Genzon Golf Club looking to improve on his best finish of a tie for eighth last season.


An early bogey threatened to scupper those plans but that was the only blemish of his round as he signed for a 66 to take a one-shot lead.

South African duo Dean Burmester and Haydn Porteous, Frenchman Grégory Bourdy and German Maximilian Kieffer were all at five under.

Watson's bogey came on the 12th after starting on the tenth but the two-time Masters champion bounced back with birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th to turn in 34.