Kuala Lumpur, October 11: American Bronson Burgoon upstaged the big names to take the first round lead at the CIMB Classic, carding a superb nine-under-par 63 at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s West Course.
Making his first appearance in the event, the 31-year-old Texan took pole position with eight birdies and an eagle against one bogey. Burgoon is one shot ahead of compatriot Austin Cook, with two more Americans, Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, a stroke further adrift with Taiwan’s C.T. Pan.
“I drove it well and I putted pretty good, so it was kind of … I mean, it was boring golf … but that’s always a good thing. I chipped in for eagle out of the bunker on my ninth hole (the par-five 18th), which kind of boosted me – then I kept going,” said Burgoon, who took the first 18-hole lead of his career.
The nine-under-par 63 will stand as a course record as this was the first time in the history of the CIMB Classic that the ball was ‘played down’, i.e. without preferred lies – testament to the hugely-improved and much firmer conditions of the West Course following a 10-month renovation.
Asked about the course, Burgoon replied: “I love it, yeah … It reminds me a lot of the courses when I was playing on the Latinoamerica Tour; very hilly, got to drive it good. It was enjoyable. I played yesterday for the first time in the pro‑am and I was glad to get a practice round in.”
Two-time winner Justin Thomas opened his quest for a third title with a six-under-par 66, while defending champion Pat Perez carded a 70.
India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who currently leads the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity standings, returned with a 67 to trail lie in tied 14th place in his first appearance at the event.
New Zealander Danny Lee scored the first hole-in-one of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season using a 9-iron from at the 145-yard fourth hole. He signed in a 69 to lie in T29 position.
The two Malaysians in the field, Ben Leong and Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang, shot 68 and 76 respectively.
Starting on the 10th hole, Leong was three-over-par after three holes but recovered well with eight birdies from there against just one more dropped shot.
“I didn’t get off to a great start, so I told myself we have a couple more days to go and just take my time and stay patient. I took one shot at a time and managed to recover.
“There’s a saying that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish … so I’m proud of myself the way I hung in there,” said Leong.
Round 1 scores (top 10 and ties)
63 – BRONSON BURGOON (USA)
64 – AUSTIN COOK (USA)
65 – C. T. PAN (TPE), BILLY HORSCHEL (USA), SCOTT PIERCY (USA)
66 – KEVIN CHAPPELL (USA), JOEL DAHMEN (USA), BYEONGHUN AN (KOR), PAUL CASEY (ENG), JUSTIN THOMAS (USA), EMILIANO GRILLO (ARG), NICK WATNEY (USA), LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (RSA)