England’s Chris Paisley fired a seven-under-par 65 to take the clubhouse lead after a weather-disrupted first day at the US$3 million Maybank Championship.
The 31-year-old Paisley nailed seven birdies in a flawless round at Saujana Golf & Country Club to continue his fine form where he won and finished fifth twice in his last three European Tour events.
The in-form Englishman holds a one-shot advantage over countryman David Horsey, while Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera was six-under with two holes to play before fading light forced officials to stop play at 7.30 pm local time. Play was suspended earlier by 1 hour and 50 minutes due to lightning.
India’s Arjun Atwal, who is aiming for a third victory in Malaysia, last year’s runner-up and 2014 Asian Tour No 1 David Lipsky of the United States, Andrew Johnston of England, Korea’s rising star Soomin Lee and Frenchmen Romain Wattel and Alexander Levy were two shots adrift of the leader.
Paisley won the South African Open in January and followed up on that victory by finishing tied fifth and fifth in Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.
Atwal, a former Asian Tour No 1, traded seven birdies against two bogeys to trail the clubhouse leader by two shots while Lipsky, a two-time Asian Tour winner, was in position to redeem himself after finishing second last year.
2017 Asian Tour No 1 Gavin Green was the best-placed Malaysian after an opening 68.
A total of 40 players will return at 7.50am on Friday to complete round one. The morning round two tee times are delayed by 10 minutes but the afternoon tee times will remain unchanged.
Leading Round 1 scores (completed only):
65 – Chris PAISLEY (ENG).
66 – David HORSEY (ENG).
67 – Andrew JOHNSTON (ENG), David LIPSKY (USA), Arjun ATWAL (IND), Romain WATTEL (FRA), Soomin LEE (KOR), Alexander LEVY (FRA).
68 – Ryan FOX (NZL), Chris HANSON (ENG), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Robert KARLSSON (SWE), Thomas DETRY (BEL), Scott JAMIESON (SCO), CHAN Shih-chang (TPE), Thomas BJORN (DEN), Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA), Nino BERTASIO (ITA), Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), Gavin GREEN (MAS), Fabrizio ZANOTTI (PAR), Bowen XIAO (CHN).