Kiradech Aphibarnrat leads after day one in Malaysia as Luke Donald struggles
Last Updated: 22/03/13 7:45am
Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat leads after a weather-affected first day of the Maybank Malaysian Open, as pre-favourite tournament Luke Donald toiled to a two-over 74.
In-form Aphibarnrat, who finished fourth at last week's Avantha Masters, carded a total of eight birdies as he made his way to the top of the leaderboard with a seven-under-par 65.
That left him a stroke clear of Italy's Edoardo Molinari, Dane Anders Hansen and France's Gregory Bourdy, while Scotland's Scott Jamieson had also reached six-under having played only ten holes of his first round.
Indeed, half of the 156-man had field failed to complete their opening rounds before thunderstorms once again forced an early abandonment at the tournament in the afternoon.
Home player S. Murthy and France's Victor Dubuisson were two shots off the pace at five-under after signing for rounds of 67, while Charl Schwartzel - second favourite behind Donald at the start of the week - was one of seven men at four-under with the South African having played 11 holes on Thursday.
Schwartzel on song
Schwartzel produced a very measured display, making birdies at three and four and an eagle at the par-five fifth along with eight pars at the tricky Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
First round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-7 K Aphibarnrat (Tha)
-6 G Bourdy (Fra)
-6 A Hansen (Den)
-6 E Molinari (Ita)
-6 S Jamieson (Sco) *10 holes
-5 S Murthy (May)
-5 V Dubuisson (fra)
Click here for collated scores
However, Donald found the going much tougher, although the Englishman refused to blame jet-lag having only arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday following his fourth-placed finish at the Tampa Bay Championship.
Starting from the 10th, Donald dropped three shots in a row from the 11th and, after chipping in for birdie from short of the first green, ran up a double-bogey six on the second after pitching into a greenside bunker.
The former world number one then missed good birdie chances on the next two holes before holing from six feet on the fifth, while a closing birdie from similar range on the ninth at least boosted his hopes of making the halfway cut on his tournament debut.
Before the storms arrived, the players had been competing in sweltering conditions with Thai duo Chapchai Nirat and Namchok Tantipokhakul both retiring ill from the tournament.