Jimenez Leads Suspended Malaysian Open


European TourKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez is in the lead during the suspended opening round of the Maybank Malaysian Open. He is 8-under par and has to complete his final hole on Friday when the round resumes.
Play was suspended for darkness on Thursday with several players on the course. They will return at 6:40 p.m. Thursday (ET) to complete the first round.
A nearly three-hour weather delay caused by lightning storms near Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club wreaked havoc with the opening round.
Thaworn Wiratchant is the clubhouse leader after a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.
Gary Murphy, Francesco Molinari, Richard Finch and Garry Houston are knotted in third place at 6-under-par 66.
Jimenez flew out of the gate on Thursday as he birdied his first two holes, then eagled the par-5 third. He parred his final six holes on the front nine, then waited out the delay.
The stoppage did not seem to faze the European Ryder Cupper. He birdied the par-5 10th hole, then rattled off three consecutive birdies from the 14th to move ahead of Wiratchant.
Unfortunately for the 36th-ranked golfer in the world, he could not complete the par-5 18th in the waning light. That means an earlier wake-up call, something Jimenez hoped to avoid.
'I would have preferred to have finished and have a half hour extra in bed in the morning,' said Jimenez, a 13-time winner on the European Tour, including two last season. 'I played very well, very solid tee to green and was quite good on the greens as well.'
Wiratchant started on the back nine Thursday and wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He birdied his first two holes, then moved up the leaderboard with his play late on the opening nine.
He drained a 20-footer for birdie at his eighth, No. 17, and added another from eight feet out at the 18th to make the turn at 4-under-par 32.
Wiratchant, who finished first on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, picked up where he left off on the second nine. He parred the first, but collected back-to-back birdies from the second.
He added birdies on five and seven to reach 8-under par for the championship. Unfortunately, Wiratchant found trouble with one hole to play that cost him first place on his own.
Wiratchant had trouble figuring out which club to hit at the ninth and his second sailed over the putting surface. He hit a poor chip, but walked off with a bogey.
'I could not estimate the distance, so I hooked the ball but it was too strong,' admitted Wiratchant.
Still, the 39-year-old posted his lowest round of the season on the European Tour and he was relatively pleased with his day's work.
'I'm very happy because this is a good start for me,' said Wiratchant. 'I managed to produce a string of birdies and am definitely satisfied. It was a good day for me.'
Fredrik Widmark, Gary Simpson and Stephen Dodd are tied for seventh place at minus-five. Adam Le Vesconte is also 5-under par, but has several holes to complete in his first round.
Padraig Harrington, making his 2006 debut, managed a 3-under-par 69 on Thursday.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Malaysian Open
  • Full Coverage - Malaysian Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes