Kuala Lumpur: Domestic veteran S. Murthy was riding high with a faultless five-under-par 67 opening round at the US$2.75 million Maybank Malaysian Open.
The 42-year-old, who has not finished higher than tied 56th place in his national Open, was the best local performer after the rain-delayed first round was completed on Friday morning, trailing first round leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand by two shots.
A two-time winner on the burgeoning domestic Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) circuit, he enjoyed a blistering start at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club with birdies on one, four and five before coming home with two more birdies on the 10th and 15th holes.
R. Nachimuthu launched his campaign with a solid 70 while Danny Chia returned a 71 after saving par at his last hole from six feet.
A round of 72 means that Nicholas Fung sits precariously on the cut line. His effort was matched by S. Sivachandhran while top-ranked amateur Gavin Kyle Green was a further shot behind alongside Sukree Othman.
“I happy overall considering that I putted reasonably well today and managed three birdies against a single bogey to come with a two-under score. I had struggled with my putting stroke over the last few weeks but spend some time with my coach Andrew Argus and he gave me some ideas, which seem to be working,” said Nachimuthu.
“It was average,” lamented Chia. “I hit the ball pretty decent. I wished I holed a bit more putts but it is still a good start.”
“It’s not easy but I enjoyed it. It is always difficult playing in front of your home crowd. It is a bit of a burden on my shoulder but I’ve played here long enough so I know how to control my patience,” he added.
Malaysians as they fared – Round 1
65 – S. Murthy