England’s Chris Paisley seized the clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted US$3 million Maybank Championship on Thursday as former Asian Tour number ones David Lipsky and Arjun Atwal trail closely behind.

The 31-year-old Paisley fired a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 at the Saujana Golf and Country Club to continue his fine form where he won and finished fifth twice in his last three European Tour events in 2018.

The Englishman carded seven birdies to hold 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. The event 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 number one David Lipsky of the United States, Andrew Johnston of England, Korea’s rising star Soomin Lee and Frenchmen Romain Wattel and Alexander Levy were a further two shots back of Paisley.

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. He returned with seven birdies thanks to his sharp-shooting game where he hit 17 out of 18 greens in regulation.

Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, 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.

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.

Did you know?

  • Paisley is enjoying a good run of form in 2018. He won the South African Open in January and finished tied fifth and fifth in Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.
  • His 65 matched his low opening round in 2018. He also shot a 65 in Dubai last week.
  • The Englishman started on the 10th tee and made the turn in 32 before shooting an inward 33.
  • This is Paisley’s second appearance at the Maybank Championship. He finished tied 41st last year after opening with a 72.
  • He is currently fourth in the Race to Dubai on the European Tour and is 80th on the Official World Golf Ranking. He was ranked 289th in the world at the end of 2017.
  • Horsey is a four-time European Tour champion but his last win was in 2015. He hopes to be third time lucky after missing the weekend rounds in his two previous attempts at the Maybank Championship.
  • Lipsky has some unfinished business at the Maybank Championship. He settled for second last year after losing by one shot to Fabrizio Zanotti who eagled the 72nd hole. 
  • He was crowned the Asian Tour number one in 2014.
  • Atwal is aiming for a third victory in Malaysia. He previously won the National Open in 2003 and 2008.
  • This is his second visit to Malaysia in four weeks after his first stint as Team Asia Captain in the EurAsia Cup.
  • This is his third appearance at the Maybank Championship. He missed the cut in the last two editions.
  • Lee has a good track record at the Maybank Championship. He finished tied second in 2016 albeit on a different golf course. It was a disappointing defeat for the Korean who double bogeyed 16 and 18 to finish two shots back of eventual winner Marcus Fraser.
  • Todd Sinnott of Australia aced the 191 meters fourth hole with a seven iron for his first hole-in-one as a professional. There was no prize on offer.
  • He previously shot two hole-in-ones as an amateur.

Player Interviews:

Chris Paisley (Eng) – First Round 65 (-7)

It was great and nice to keep the form going. I just played really solid, hit it well off the tee so gave myself a lot of wedges and short irons into the greens which were really good and gave myself a lot of birdie chances, couldn’t have gone better.

That’s the hardest part, it’s very hot and not much wind, so scoring wise it is quite easy but to keep your focus is quite difficult with how tiring the heat is but it is good fun.

I was pretty much in the fairway every hole and just felt like I had a lot of 100-yard to 140-yard shots, which is generally my strength, and hit a few stiff and lots to within ten feet so managed to hole a few putts as well.

Arjun Atwal (Ind) – First Round 67 (-5)

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. It has been fun.

David Lipsky (Usa) – Round one 67 (-5)

It was pretty good today I hit the ball really well today, but I didn’t make enough putts if not I could have gone even lower but I am pretty happy with my round. It was fairly easy in the morning but the wind picked up in the afternoon and got a little trickier. I’m pretty happy with my round and I just want to keep it going for the next few days.

Soomin Lee (Kor) – First Round 67 (-5)

It was very exciting. I really love this country and that’s why I always play well. I’m not feeling healthy. I hope that I can feel better in the next three days. My stomach feels upset. I don’t know what I ate wrongly.

I love this golf course, the fairways are narrow. I just want to keep my ball on the fairway. Actually I love playing on Asian golf courses. I drove the ball so well on the front nine but I struggled on the back. I just practice a bit more on the pace of my putting and I should be okay.

Todd Sinnott (Aus) – First Round 70 (-2)

It was playing 191 meters and it was playing uphill so you can’t see the green. I just hit a seven iron draw and I asked my caddy for the putter and he said I probably won’t need it and I laughed.

We walked up and Daisuke Kataoka was ahead of us and when he reached the green he said it was not in but he was joking so that was it. I’ve had two hole-in-ones as an amateur so this is my first professional hole-in-one.

When I got up to the green and knew I had the ace, I looked back at the tee to see if I won a car or something but nothing unfortunately!


Scores after round 1 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7135 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):

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).

69 – Mohd WAFIYUDDIN (MAS), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND), Thongchai JAIDEE (THA), Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA), Adrian OTAEGUI (ESP), Dylan FRITTELLI (RSA), Soren KJELDSEN (DEN), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), Berry HENSON (USA), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), Ben LEONG (MAS), Daniel IM (USA), Jorge CAMPILLO (ESP), Maximilian KIEFFER (GER), Benjamin HEBERT (FRA), Gregory BOURDY (FRA), Eddie PEPPERELL (ENG).

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