The event, being played at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, starts the tour's 2009 season with 77 of the world's top golfers.
Also, it kicked off the circuit's Race to Dubai, the season-long money scramble which replaces the Order of Merit earnings title and ends with the $10 million Dubai World Championship.
"I'm very pleased with that," the Gothenburg, Sweden, native responded when asked a question about whether he was satisfied with his round.
Defending champion and world No. 2 Phil Mickelson, world No. 3 Sergio Garcia, No. 8 Anthony Kim and No. 16 Adam Scott all shot 6-under 66 and are tied for second place.
Robert Karlsson of Sweden, the 2008 Order of Merit champion, shot 3-under 69 and shares 14th place with nine others.