RYAN Moore of the Unites states tore the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) greens to pieces when he returned a fiery nine-under 63 to lead the US$7million CIMB Classic.
It was a course record at the KLGCC West Course, as the previous low score was a 62 achieved by Raphael Jacquelin from France in the Third Round of the 2006 Malaysian Open, but the course has undergone major renovation since.
His round had 10 birdies, and the blemish was a sloe bogey at the Par Four No 1, his starting hole.
"This is my third (CIMB) tournament and starting with a nine-under is any golfers dream, and I hope to carry the momentum into the weekend play," said Moore.
He came into the tournament after a tied-ninth spot in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last weekend, and said it helped keep him focussed.
"It was a good finish last weekend, and after finishing in the top-10 bracket, I felt good coming to Malaysia. However, I only got a chance to practice during the Pro-Am and that was an excellent break because this is quite a difficult course and one needs to play at least once here to get used to it," said Moore.
His previous two CIMB Classic tournaments were at the Mines Golf and Coutry Club, which Moore said was much easier to read.
"Personally, is you ask me to compare between the Mines and the KLGCC, it is more difficult here as the fairways are narrow and the roughs very much thicker. And some of the downhill tee shots are really difficult to judge, while the bunkers are placed in positions that will trap you if you are not focussed," said Moore.
Even with such challenging conditions, the American still managed to shoot a low score and will be the man to beat during the weekend play.
Second and two strokes adrift at seven-under 65 was another American Keegan Bradley, while third was Spaniard Sergio Garcia at six-under 66.
Bradley said it was one of his better rounds of the year, and he loves playing at this challenging course.
"I had a really great day, as I was super relaxed from the start. Really one of my best rounds of the year after I put my clubs away for a few days. But I still have a lot of work to do this season, as I have set a lot of goals that I want to accomplish," said Bradley.
It was his first time in Malaysia: "And I really like it here in Malaysia, and this course especially. Being here for the first time, made the schedule a little different, but Im settling in fast," said the American.
And after a seven-under, he plans to keep the momentum going with more consistent play.
"This course is very difficult because the rough is high, the greens are really firm but I hit the fairways most of the time and that made the difference.
"I think the guy that hits the most fairways is going to win this tournament, and thats what I will aim for in the remaining rounds," said Bradley.
Selected 1st Rd Scores:
Scores after round 1 of the 2013 CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 6924 Yards Kuala Lumpur GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
63 - Ryan Moore (USA).
65 - Keegan Bradley (USA).
66 - Sergio Garcia (ESP).
67 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Boo Weekley (USA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Chris Kirk (USA), Chris Stroud (USA).
68 - Gary Woodland (USA), K.J. Choi (USA), Martin Laird (SCO).
69 - Charley Hoffman (USA), Nicholas Thompson (USA), Shiv Kapur (IND), Charles Howell III (USA).
70 - Stewart Cink (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Camilo Villegas (COL), Richard H. Lee (USA), Wade Ormsby (AUS).
71 - Jerry Kelly (USA), John Huh (USA), Lucas Glover (USA), Russell Henley (USA), Kevin Stadler (USA), D.A. Points (USA), Phil Mickelson (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Harris English (USA).