The 45-year-old Queenslander carded a round of six-under 66 to sit alongside former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, World No.5 Bryson DeChambeau, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, Finland's Kalle Samooja, England's Callum Shinkwin and Frenchmen Matthieu Pavon and Romain Langasque.

Hend's compatriots, Wade Ormsby and Jason Scrivener, are a further shot back on five under after rounds of 67 with the likes of defending champion Haotong Li, England's Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

Victoria’s Lucas Herbert is joint 31st after a three-under 69.

Matthew Fitzpatrick finished with four-straight birdies to take the one-shot lead having recovered from a bogey on the 6th to post seven-under-par 65, his best opening round score since the 2015 British Masters, where he won the title.

In perfect scoring conditions, Fitzpatrick rattled in a 25-feet birdie putt at the 15th to lift the crowd before three more gains in as many holes gave him the outright lead.

"It was obviously a great finish to the round," the five-time European Tour winner said.

"A couple of things that I've been doing in the off-season sort of looked to have paid off a little bit."