Scotland’s Marc Warren blazed his way to a nine-under-par 63 at Saujana Golf & Country Club’s Palm Course to lead the first round of the Maybank Championship.
The three-time European Tour winner got off to a hot start in perfect conditions, making four birdies and an eagle on his first nine. Warren added three more birdies on the home stretch to lead by two shots from Thai teenager Phachara Khongwatmai in the US$3 million tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
“My iron play was very good today. Recently I have been making a lot of birdies but a lot of mistakes as well, so it was nice to get around without a bogey,” said Warren, 35.
“It is a tough golf course, especially with the wind and the heat and everything else. If you shoot a score of nine-under you’re putting really well, so I’ll take a lot of confidence from today,” he added.
Khongwatmai, who became the youngest winner of a professional tournament when he won the Singha Hua Hin Open at age 14 in 2013, was elated with his superb start.
“I’m very happy. I didn’t think I could shoot seven under as this is a tough course. I thought one or two-under would be good and if I can make the cut, I’ll be happy,” said Khongwatma, who made eight birdies but dropped a shot on the closing hole en route to a 65.
Malaysia’s Arie Irawan, reigning Masters champion Danny Willett of England, American Peter Uihlein, Germany’s Marcel Siem, Australian Sam Brazel and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar carded opening 66s.