Marcus Fraser and Spain’s Nacho Elvira took a share of the first round lead by returning with matching seven-under-par 65s at the Maybank Championship on Thursday.
Fraser, who won the inaugural Maybank Championship in 2016, surprised even himself with his position on the leaderboard after considering himself as a ‘part-time golfer’ nowadays. Ranked 345th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), the New South Welshman has not broken into the winner’s circle since that victory in Malaysia.
“I'm definitely a part time golfer these days … It's nice to go out on the golf course and it doesn't mean as much as it used to,” Fraser said.
“I think when you've got that mind-set it probably helps. I was more surprised than anyone going out there and shooting seven under.
“I've been playing well having a hit at home but I haven't played a whole lot of competitive golf. It was nice to go out and play well in a great tournament.”
Philippines’ Angelo Que opened his campaign at the US$3 million event in a blistering pace, getting to nine-under after 11 holes.
RIGHT: Fraser opened with seven-under 65 to share the lead at the Maybank Championship. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Two double-bogeys on 15 and 16 knocked him off the perch of the leaderboard. But he would finish the round just like the way he started with a birdie to trail Fraser and Elvira by one shot in a share of third place, with Austria’s Matthias Schwab and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Jazz showed why he is leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit with another assured performance.
The three-time Asian Tour winner marked his card with seven birdies and a bogey for an encouraging 66 at the Malaysian showpiece.
Ernie Els, who will captain the International team for this year’s Presidents Cup, signed for a 68 to share seventh place together with seven other players that include: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Victoria’s Zach Murray, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung.