Singh Just One Back of Lafeber in Malaysia


Maarten Lafeber of Holland opened in fine form with a round of 5-under-par 67 to take the outright lead following the first day of the Carlsberg Malaysian Open.
Lafeber leads by a stroke over Robert Coles and current U.S. Masters champion Vijay Singh. They each carded 68s on Thursday. Michael Campbell and Constantino Rocca head up a pack of six players at 3-under, while Ireland's Padraig Harrington and seven others are three back at 2-under-par.
After a slow start, Lafeber came alive Thursday to do all his damage on the back nine of the Saujana Golf and Country Club. He opened in 1-over 37, but carded six late birdies over his final eight holes to grab sole possession of first.
'You don't have to be really long off the tee, but you need to be in the right position on the greens to make birdies,' the 26-year-old claimed.
'It's impossible to two-putt from some positions on the greens and I make two three-putts on my front nine. I made some swing changes at the start of the season and I was struggling to start with but it's getting better day to day.'
Singh is surely hoping that his game is getting better with each passing day as well, as he will have his defense in Augusta in not too many more months.
'I played very solidly and did not miss too many shots,' the Fijian stated. 'I hit every green and I'm very pleased with the way I started.'
'It could have been one or two more under quite comfortably but it's only the first day. I'm not really worried about the leaderboard right now, I only start looking at that at the weekend.'
At 3-under, Campbell's round might very well have been a bit better as well. For the day, the man from Kiwi recorded five birdies and a hole-out on the par-5 4th for eagle. However, he also dropped four shots on four different holes.
'It was nice to finish birdie, birdie, but as you can see from the scorecard, it was full of good shots and bad shots and I made too many mistakes,' he said.
'It was a bit of a struggle but I've got a good foundation to work from there. For the eagle on the fourth, I had 81 yards to the pin, a perfect lob wedge for me, and it's the first time I've holed a shot for a long time.'
Unfortunately, rain came falling late in the afternoon at Saujana. Fifteen players were still on the course when play was halted and will pick up their rounds early Friday morning.
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