KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to take the clubhouse lead at the Malaysian Open before thunderstorms caused the suspension of the first round with half the field still on the course.
The Thai player is one stroke clear of 2010 Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari, Gregory Bourdy and Anders Hansen at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Kiradech showed no ill effects of a debilitating thyroid disease in the humid Malaysian weather, making four birdies on both the front and back nine.
“I didn't force myself or any of my golf shots,” he said. “I didn't set myself any goals this week. I didn't tell myself that I should finish in the top five or win this event. I want to take it shot by shot. When you don't have power or energy, you can't force yourself.”
Bourdy, who won the last of his three European Tour titles four years ago, birdied five of his first seven holes and holed two more on his back nine.
“It's great to start the tournament like this, 6 under is a good score on this course,” he said. “I finished second here two years ago, so I like the course a lot. It's maybe one of the best we play all season and it's in great shape again this year.”
Hansen had an erratic start in his opening five holes, making three birdies and dropping two shots. But the Dane holed a shot from the rough for an eagle on his back nine before finishing with three straight birdies.
“It's always nice to finish with three birdies. I plodded along all day and all of a sudden the putts started dropping at the end,” Hansen said. “I hit a lot of good shots, although I had a couple of loose ones at the start. I hit it in the water on the first, which wasn't good, but I made a good recovery.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is in a large group at 3 under, while third-ranked Luke Donald hit three bogeys and a double bogey in a struggling 74 for a share of 108th place. – Sapa-AP