Kuala Lumpur - Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Spain’s Nacho Elvira took a share of the first round lead by returning with matching seven-under-par 65s at the Maybank Championship on Thursday.
Fraser, who won the inaugural Maybank Championship in 2016, surprised even himself with his position on the leaderboard after considering himself as a ‘part-time golfer’ nowadays. Ranked 345th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), the Australian has not broken into the winner’s circle since that victory in Malaysia.
Philippines’ Angelo Que opened his campaign at the US$3 million event in a blistering pace, getting to nine-under after 11 holes.
Two double-bogeys on 15 and 16 knocked him off the perch of the leaderboard but he would finish the round just like the way he started with a birdie to trail Fraser and Elvira by one shot in a share of third place with Austria’s Matthias Schwab and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Jazz showed why he is leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit with another assured performance.
The three-time Asian Tour winner marked his card with seven birdies and a bogey for an encouraging 66 at the Malaysian showpiece.
South Africa’s Ernie Els, who will captain the International team for this year’s Presidents Cup, signed for a 68 to share seventh place together with seven other players that include India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Australia’s Zach Murray, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung.
Leading Scores after round 1 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7136 Yards Saujana GCC course (am - denotes amateur):
65 - Marcus Fraser (AUS), Nacho Elvira (ESP).
66 - Matthias Schwab (AUT), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Angelo Que (PHI).
67 - Thomas Pieters (BEL).
68 - Poom Saksansin (THA), Ernie Els (RSA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Brandon Stone (RSA), Dean Burmester (RSA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Zach Murray (AUS), Nicholas Fung (MAS).
69 - Danny Masrin (INA), Ricardo Gouveia (POR), Andrea Pavan (ITA), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Benjamin Hebert (FRA), Masahiro Kawamura (JPN), Julian Suri (USA), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Scott Hend (AUS), Lucas Herbert (AUS), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA).
70 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Thomas Detry (BEL), Viraj Madappa (IND), Jorge Campillo (ESP), Sanghyun Park (KOR), Oliver Fisher (ENG), Marcus Kinhult (SWE), Sihwan Kim (USA), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Kurt Kitayama (USA), Padraig Harrington (IRL), Paul Peterson (USA), Scott Vincent (ZIM), Richard Mcevoy (ENG), Travis Smyth (AUS).
71 - Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Yusaku Miyazato (JPN), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), Shubhankar Sharma (IND), Ryo Ishikawa (JPN), Wu Ashun (CHN), Shaun Norris (RSA), Ryan Fox (NZL), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS), Minchel Choi (KOR), Keith Horne (RSA), Danthai Boonma (THA), Alvaro Quiros (ESP), Louis De Jager (RSA), Guido Migliozzi (ITA), Robert Karlsson (SWE), Chris Wood (ENG), Erik Van Rooyen (RSA), Chris Paisley (ENG), Robin Roussel (FRA), Jens Dantorp (SWE), Maximilian Kieffer (GER).