Kuala Lumpur, February 1: England’s Chris Paisley fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 to take the clubhouse lead in the on-going Maybank Championship on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Englishman, who won his first European Tour title earlier this year, continued his fine form at the US$3 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Paisley won the South African Open in January and followed up on that victory by finishing tied fifth in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai last week.
He missed only one green in regulation in a round of seven birdies to lead by one shot from countryman David Horsey. India’s Arjun Atwal, who is aiming for a third victory in Malaysia, last year’s runner-up David Lipsky of the United States, Romain Wattel of France, Andrew Johnston of England and Korea’s rising star Soomin Lee shared third place on matching 67s.
“It was great and nice to keep the form going. I just played really solid, hit it well off the tee and gave myself a lot of wedges and short irons into the greens which gave me a lot of birdie opportunities. Could not have done any better today,” said Paisley who finished tied 41st at last year’s Maybank Championship.
Team Asia captain Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, traded seven birdies against two bogeys to trail the early leader by two shots.
“It was hot, very hot. I don’t remember the last time being this hot. I’m pleased, it was a solid start to round one. Everything was pretty okay, I can’t pinpoint which part of my game was better. Everything was solid, I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I hit it close a few times and made some putts so it was good. It has been a while since I won in Malaysia but I always love coming back here,” said Atwal.