Thursday, 17 April 2014
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood shook off any jetlag to take control of the Maybank Malaysian Open with an opening seven under par 65.

The Englishman flew to Kuala Lumpur straight after finishing seventh in the Masters Tournament at the weekend.

But the 40 year old was buoyed by recording his best finish of the season at Augusta National and is looking to give himself an early birthday present - he turns 41 next Thursday - with a 13th victory in Asia.

A bogey at the tenth, his first, didn’t help the cause, but eight unanswered birdies from then in – including three in his last three holes – gave the former World Number One the clubhouse lead.

Westwood’s Ryder Cup partner from Medinah Nicolas Colsaerts and Scotland’s Craig Lee were a shot further back.

“I played well,” said Westwood. “I didn’t make the best of starts bogeying the par five tenth, the first hole of the day, but fortunately that didn’t set the tone for the day. I hit it really well and hit it close a lot. 

“I had to be patient because I was hitting good putts and they weren’t going in. I holed one from about eight feet on my 16th, 25 feet on the second last hole and a nice 15 footer with a bit of curl on the last. 

“It was a good round of golf in tricky conditions. It’s obviously very hot and you have to keep hydrated. The course is soft so it’s playing its longest, and the greens are firm – it’s testament to how good the construction of the greens are when you consider the rain we’ve had over the past couple of days. 

“I played well in Houston the week before the Masters and used that momentum going into the Masters. I played well last week in finishing seventh, and I was happy to carry that on today.” 

Belgian Colsaerts had eight birdies and two bogeys in his round of 66, while Lee made a blistering start with six birdies in his first eight holes, and remained on that mark with seven holes to play.

Recent NH Collection Open winner Marco Crespi and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey were a shot further back on five under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T2COLSAERTS, NicolasBEL18-11
T5WILLETT, DannyENG18-10
T5KARLBERG, RikardSWE18-10

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