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Lee Westwood leads Maybank Malaysian Open

Updated: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 14:08 | Comments

Lee Westwood was just three shots off the lead going into the final round at Augusta
Lee Westwood was just three shots off the lead going into the final round at Augusta

Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts rediscovered top form to set the pace in the first round of the weather-affected Maybank Malaysian Open today.

Westwood's best finish this season is a share of seventh place in the Masters last week, while Colsaerts has not recorded a single top-15 finish on the PGA Tour in 2014.

However, both players made light of the long journey from the United States to Kuala Lumpur, Westwood taking the clubhouse lead with a seven-under-par 65 and Colsaerts just a shot behind.

A delay of just over 75 minutes in the afternoon due to the threat of lightning meant the first round was not completed on schedule, with play set to resume at 0740 local time on Friday.

Michael Hoey was best of the Irish involved and is tied for third after a 67 left him five over.  Simon Thornton is two over, with Damien McGrane six over after 15.

Starting from the 10th, Westwood's round got off to a slow start with a bogey on the 539-yard par five, but that would be his only dropped shot of the day.

Birdies on the 12th, 14th and 16th took the former world number one to the turn in 34 and a front nine of 31, including birdies at four of his last five holes, took Westwood to the top of the leaderboard.

Colsaerts made an instant impact on his Ryder Cup debut in 2012, firing eight birdies and an eagle to carry Westwood to victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the opening day fourballs at Medinah.

But the big-hitting Belgian has struggled for form since, failing to record a top-three finish on the European Tour last year and falling to 131st in the world rankings.

Hoey said: "A lot of putts went in, that was the highlight. I holed a 50-footer on the 13th up the hill. It was good chipping and putting all the way, so I'm really happy.

"It's weird because my grips hadn't set properly and I didn't have a lot of confidence before I went out. The grips were moving slightly so I had to hold down the grip. So it just shows you in golf if you have low expectations you can play well."

Defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat returned a one-under-par 71, one shot better than former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

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