Ever-improving Welsh ace Rhys Davies carded a bogey free seven under par 65 to share a one shot lead with Spain's Ignacio Garrido midway through the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Challenge Tour graduate Davies took advantage of the scoring chances on the easier front nine at the newly refurbished Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club with five birdies before picking up two further gains on the testing return trip to set an imposing first round mark alongside Garrido.
Davies missed a makeable birdie putt at the first but soon made amends as a nine iron to two feet at the second was quickly followed by a two putt conversion a hole later.
And with a bonus of holing out from off the green at the fifth to complete a hat-trick of birdies, Davies was flourishing in the energy-sapping humidity.
He started the back nine with a sixth birdie of the day, but did have to wait until the 17th for his seventh and final gain to arrive to join Garrido in a share of the clubhouse lead.
"It went well, I hit a good few shots early on and had birdie chances on six of the first seven and made most of them. I had a really good run early on and it gave me something to play for later in the day," said the 24 year old Davies.
"It is scoreable on the front, while there are a few more demanding holes on the back nine with a bit more length with more trouble."
Garrido putted his way to the top of the leaderboard after dropping just one shot on his opening circuit to edge ahead of in-form Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee and South Korea's Kim Dae-hyun.
The highlight of The 1997 Ryder Cup winner's round was a 35 foot eagle putt at just his third hole of the day, when admittedly he was just attempting to navigate the large tier between himself and the hole, while the two-time European Tour winner was also surprised to see several putts of 15 20 feet drop to boost his opening tally.
"I am very pleased. I think that on any golf course starting with a 65 is a great score, particularly round here where the climate is completely different from the one I have been used to in the last couple of months with the snow in Madrid," said Garrido.
"The grass is also difficult for us, although it is not as grainy as other greens in Asia, it is still tricky."
World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship quarter-finalist Thongchai missed two of his three final greens to account for two late bogeys which ruined a potentially spectacular start, although the World Number 44 remained upbeat.
"If you have confidence you won't have any pressure," said the two-time Malaysian Open winner.
"If your driver, irons and putting are good, you are going to get a low score and win the tournament. I'm thinking about winning, I think this is a good chance for me."
K J Choi dropped his only shot of the day at the last to card a five under par 67 alongside Spain's Alejandro Cañizares, Dane Mark Haastrup and England's Mark Foster.
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