2014 and 2015 Macao-China Open champion, Tomoyuki Sasaki got off the block with a sizzling 279 only to lead desperado squad qualifier, James Lui of Hong by one pin. Several finalists also posted big games with first perfect gamer, Shoumick Datta of India firing 277 and Bolleby 266.
But Sasaki's lead was immediately overtaken by 2017 Penang Pesta champion, Ryan Lalisang after the latter posted consistent games of 257 and 256. Jimmy Cheung of Hong Kong trailed in second by 3 pins as Sasaki slipped down to third.
Another strong game from Lalisang allowed the Indonesian to extend his lead over Chueng to 28 pins. Al Shaikh and Bolleby stayed closed in third and fourth positions. Lalisang held on to the lead for another game with 248 before stumbling to a poor 187 in the fifth game.
A second Japanese, Yuki Tsutsumi fired back-to-back 260s in the second and third games and almost rolled the tournament's third 300 when he shot 299 in the fourth game to trail in second. A third Japanese, Yuhi Shinbata made his way up to share the lead after the fifth game with Indonesia's Diwan Rezaldy.