Allenby sets pace in Malaysia

2011-10-27 10:46

Kuala Lumpur - Australian Robert Allenby made a sensational start to the $6.1-million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic on Thursday, firing an eight-under-par 63 to lead after the first round in Malaysia.

The 40-year-old, who was menaced by a monkey on the 10th hole at The Mines Resort & Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur when he was practising earlier in the week, was a stroke ahead of rookie Jhonattan Vegas.

The Venezuelan fired a 64, while in third place was Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, who carded a respectable 65 at the co-sanctioned PGA Tour and Asian Tour event.

Defending champion Ben Crane of the United States shot a two-under-par 69.

"I started the day with some good early putts and hit the ball well today and overall I'm very happy with today's result," said the Florida-based Allenby, who had eight birdies against no bogeys.

"I've been playing well for a while but haven't put the scores on the board. Today was nice to get no bogeys for the round and eight under is a great score.

"My iron play was good today and more importantly I made some good putts. I've been working hard on that. My game is there, it's just the focus now."

Vegas finished with a flurry of four birdies to sound out a warning to the rest of the field.

"I had a really good round and I hit the ball really well," said Vegas, 27, who picked up the game by playing with a broomstick and a rock. His first tournament victory on the PGA Tour came in January at the Bob Hope Classic.

"I felt like I hit a lot of good putts as well. Hopefully we can keep that going for the next three days and hold the trophy on Sunday," he said after a first round played in sweltering conditions.

"I hit the ball beautifully today. I kept hitting on the fairways and the greens, made some good putts and finished with four birdies in a row, which was a nice way to end the round."

The same could not be said for several of the pre-tournament favourites. America's Brandt Snedeker, the highest-ranked player on show at 27 in the world, was off the pace with a disappointing 71.

Also struggling was Angel Cabrera, who carded a 73, and former world number one Vijay Singh, with a 72.

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play in a PGA Tour event, said he was delighted with his competitive 68, which would have been even better but for dropping a shot at the last.

"I'm the only one from Bangladesh, it's a good experience for me and my country and I feel really very proud," he said.

Leading first round scores from the co-sanctioned PGA Tour and Asian Tour $6.1-million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (par 71):

63 - Robert Allenby (AUS)

64 - Jhonattan Vegas (VEN)

65 - Fredrik Jacobson (SWE)

66 - Cameron Tringale (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA), Bo Van Pelt (USA)

67 - Scott Stallings (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Jeff Overton (USA), Mark Wilson (USA), John Senden (USA)

68 - Tommy Gainey (USA), Brendon De Jonge (ZIM), Carl Pettersson (SWE), Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Kyle Stanley (USA), Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Siddikur (BAN)


69 - Ben Crane (USA)

72 - Vijay Singh (FIJ)

73 - Angel Cabrera (ARG)