Jamieson and Schwartzel stay close to Aphibarnrat

3/22/2013 2:54:00 AM
Scott Jamieson of Scotland   (Getty Images)
Scott Jamieson of Scotland (Getty Images)
There was no change at the top of the Maybank Malaysian Open leaderboard as the first round was swiftly concluded this morning.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat remained a one shot leader following his seven under par 65, which was completed before a thunderstorm brought a premature end to proceedings on day one.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, already a European Tour winner this season, had the best chance of dislodging Aphibarnrat when he resumed six under with eight to play.

However, he was unable to deviate from par until the 16th – which he bogeyed – with a birdie at the short penultimate hole keeping him in a tie for second with France’s Grégory Bourdy, Dane Anders Hansen and Italian Edoardo Molinari.

“Yesterday was a great day for me,” said the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa winner.

“I got off to a flier and was six under through ten, and perhaps the horn went at the wrong time for me. We came off when we were on the 11th tee, so I had the luxury of thinking about a 230 yard tee shot over water all night. Fortunately I started with a par. 

“It wasn’t quite as good today as it was yesterday, but six under is a good start. Yesterday I finished birdie-eagle just before the horn sounded, so I got those in just in time.” 

South African Charl Schwartzel began the day four under with seven holes remaining, and moved into the top ten with birdies at the 12th and 18th either side of a bogey at the 13th.

“Coming out this morning, it was nice to finish well with a chip-in,” said the 2011 Masters Tournament winner.

“I hit a bad approach shot with a wedge and ended up in a drain hole next to the green. We were trying to find the best place to get relief from and I think I found it. 

“It looks like there are quite a few guys shooting low scores, so they are definitely out there and you have to keep yourself in it. There’s still a long way to go and it will be nice to get another good round in now. 

“There’s a lot of holes to play today, but that’s what we go to the gym for – to be fit for this kind of thing.”

There was then a swift turnaround for the likes of Jamieson and Schwartzel to begin their second rounds, with Aphibarnrat, Bourdy, Hansen and Molinari amongst the afternoon starters.

Jamieson added: “I’ll just try to pick up where I left off. I think the front nine is more scoreable – there’s a tougher run of holes on the back nine, so I’ll just try to keep doing what I’m doing and try to shoot another six under. 

“It’s not easy in the heat. It will be interesting to see how the back nine goes today, what with playing 26 or 27 holes in one day. I’ve been playing with a towel over my head and drinking loads of fluids – you just have to get on with it.”

Schwartzel was certainly in no mood to hang around when he got back out – birdies at the tenth and 11th - his first and second – drew him level with not only Aphibarnrat, but also China’s Wu Ashun; who birdied the tenth and 12th.