If Lam Chih Bing can retain his first-day position - or even slip by two slots to fourth - he will save his Asian Tour card for next season.
The Singaporean (inset), who entered the inaugural Dubai Open as holiday-cum-competition, is lying joint-second on five-under 67 after the first day of the US$500,000 ($650,000) event.
He is one shot behind Australian rookie Kalem Richardson, who did not have the benefit of a practice round at the Els Club Dubai.
Lam, who had seven birdies and two bogeys and is lying a distant 80th in the Asian Tour's Order of Merit (only top-60 gain card), flew to Dubai "not even bothered" about his Merit position.
He said: "Frankly I'm on holiday. It's the first time in Dubai and my family is coming on Saturday.
"I'm pretty much in holiday mode, no matter how it goes. If I play good this week, it'll be a bonus.
"Actually I've been playing so bad that I haven't been looking at the Order of Merit (OOM) for the past couple of months."
It was certainly a different Lam yesterday, who added: "It's nice to be making putts (he had 25). It's been a while.
"Well, obviously after a round like today you've got to feel pretty good about your game."
Having the same "nice" feeling was another Singaporean, Mardan Mamat, who shot 68 and is lying joint-sixth.
Mardan, who retained his card and is 12th on the OOM, said: "I'm happy with five birdies on the card in rather windy conditions.
"After the back nine the wind started blowing. I was able to take advantage of the morning cycle."
Richardson, who has enjoyed two top-five finishes in his last five starts, posted an eagle and five birdies to lead from Lam, Thailand's Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Craig Hinton and Christopher Cannon, both of England.
He said: "I played pretty solid, it was a pretty crazy day. Playing golf in Dubai, it's amazing really, you just look around and see the scenery and you're just enjoying yourself and I'm feeling pretty relaxed."
This article was first published on Dec 19, 2014.
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