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Smith fires first round 64 to lead CIMB Classic

Australia’s Cameron Smith shot a superb eight-under-par 64 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

The 24-year-old from Brisbane nailed eight birdies in a flawless round at the West Course to top the leaderboard.  Thailand’s Poom Saksansin carded a 65 to lie in joint second place with Americans Keegan Bradley and Xander Schauffele.

“It was pretty simple really, hit a lot of good shots today and made a lot of good putts.  You’ve got to hit the ball straight and then there’s plenty of opportunities with your wedges. I’ve to keep the game plan pretty much the same really.  Just smart off the tee, try to hit the fairways and then really aggressive into the greens was the goal today … and it worked so I’ll keep that one,” said Smith, who played on the Asian Tour in 2014 when he finished tied-fifth at the CIMB Classic.

“I grew up in Brisbane … it’s kind of similar to this but obviously not as bad as this. I enjoy the heat … I always play well in the heat for some reason, I honestly can’t tell you why. I just have to keep myself hydrated,” added the Australian, who won his first PGA Tour title this year in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans partnering Sweden’s Jonas Blixt.

Poom meanwhile enjoyed a stress-free round in his debut appearance in the event. “I played without any expectations. I just kept playing and the ball kept going in,” said the baby-faced Thai, who is a two-time Asian Tour winner.

Veteran Danny Chia finished the day as the best Malaysian with a round of two-under-par 70, while Nicholas Fung and Gavin Green shot 72 and 73 respectively.

Round 1 Scores (top 10 and ties):

64 – Cameron SMITH (AUS).

65 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA), Xander SCHAUFFELE (USA), Keegan BRADLEY (USA).

66 – Kevin NA (USA), Gary WOODLAND (USA), Pat PEREZ (USA).

67 – Brendan STEELE (USA), Anirban LAHIRI (IND), Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA), Davis LOVE III (USA), Rafa CABRERA BELLO (ESP), Sung KANG (KOR).

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