Thursday, 18 February 2016
Day 1 Highlights - Maybank Championship Malaysia

Nathan Holman fired himself to the top of the leaderboard on day one of the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia and then set his sights on emulating Danny Willett who was just a shot behind.

The Australian carded a seven under par 64 to set the early target at Royal Selangor Golf Club and, while he could not be caught, Willett, fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, American Peter Uihlein, Frenchman Alexander Levy, Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Filipino Angelo Que all got to six under to pile the pressure on the 24 year old.

It was a continuation of some impressive early season form from Holman, who won the Australian PGA Championship in his 16th European Tour event in December and then sealed two top 40 finishes during the Desert Swing.

That win on the Gold Coast catapulted Holman from 318th to 171st in the Official World Golf Ranking and he is now aiming to follow Willett, who has had a recent meteoric rise of his own.

The 28 year old was 104th in the World Ranking in November 2014, but three European Tour wins since, including victory last time out at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, have moved him to 13th.

My immediate ambition is top 100 in the world and then to move into the top 50 in a few years - Nathan Holman

Holman started on the tenth and made a birdie on his opener before a hat-trick of gains from the 13th saw him turn in 32. Further birdies followed on the third and fifth before a 20-foot putt on the ninth moved him ahead.

"I just played really well to be honest," he said. "Every part of my game was quite good and I was saying a few weeks ago that my game has been trending in that right direction so it was nice to get a really good one in.

"A lot of the guys probably haven't played here. It's quite a tricky golf course and quite short so you need good lines off the tee and if you can get your wedges and putter going, you can post a score.

"It suits my eye. I like the look of it and obviously that's shown through with the score I had today so I'm looking forward to playing the next three days."

Willett turned in one under par 34 but hit his stride after the turn, chipping in for eagle on the 13th and following that with back-to-back birdies before sinking a huge putt on the last.

An eagle and four birdies in his first seven holes saw Uihlein threaten to set the target but he played his last 11 holes in level par, while a bogey on the last meant Levy dropped out of a share of the lead after he had birdied the 11th, 13th, 15th and 16th in a late surge.

Fleetwood was flawless in his 66 while Que and Campillo both had a single bogey in their efforts.

Thongchai Jaidee was then in the group at five under, with the seven-time winner joined by Richard Bland, Marcus Fraser, Masahiro Kawamura, K.T. Kim, Soomin Lee, Prom Meesawat and Miguel Tabuena.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FRASER, MarcusAUS18-15
T2TABUENA, MiguelPHI18-13
T2LEE, SoominKOR18-13
T4QUESNE, JulienFRA18-12
T6BLAND, RichardENG18-11

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