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Scott Piercy leads PGA Tour event in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Scott Piercy allied some crisp putting with solid tee-to-green play and shot a flawless 10-under 62 on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead after the first round of the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic.

The American made 10 birdies at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to pull away from Hideki Matsuyama, who had eight birdies and a bogey in his 65.

Piercy's 10 under matched the tournament record set by Nick Watney, who had 61 at the par-71 Mines Resort and Golf Club in 2012. It was Piercy's lowest round since a closing 61 at the Phoenix Open two years ago.

In a group of five at 66 were Keagan Bradley and Charles Howell III. Eight players were at 67, including last year's runnerup, Kevin Na. Two-time defending champion Ryan Moore was with seven others at 67. Adam Scott was in a group of 10 at 68 that included Scott Brown, who had a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th and won a BMW sports car.

Piercy began the new PGA season with a tie for 25th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children on Sunday, and he blamed bad putting for disguising a game he otherwise felt "was in a good spot."

"I made the putts I didn't last week and got a little lucky as well," he said.

One of the "lucky" holes was the par-4 13th, where his approach shot dropped 10 feet below the green, but he managed to chip in for birdie.

"It was good fortune, a good break, and it was nice to see the ball go in," said Piercy, who has three tour victories, including the Barbasol Championship in July.

EUROPEAN: Jaco van Zyl made nine birdies and an eagle for 11-under 61 to take a three-shot lead after the first round of the Turkish Airlines Open, the first of the tour's four-event Final Series.

Lee Westwood was second at Antalya, Turkey, after a bogey-free 64, his lowest score in more than a year. "It's stuff I've worked on before but just a slightly different idea to give myself the same feeling as I got when I was playing well," said Westwood, 42. "I'm no spring chicken anymore."

Rory McIlroy made four birdies on his back nine and was in a group of seven at 67.

"I feel like my game came together a lot more on the back nine," he said. "I was trying to find my rhythm for the first few holes and made a good par save on 18, which gave me some momentum going into the back nine."

LPGA: China's Lin Xi-yu took the lead in the windy Blue Bay LPGA with 5-under 67, and Lydia Ko struggled to 77 at Hainan Island, China, in her first round since regaining the No. 1 world ranking. Ko shot her highest score since a career-worst 80 in high wind last year at Royal Birkdale in the Women's British Open. Austin Ernst (68) was second. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 78.

Scott Piercy leads PGA Tour event in Malaysia 10/29/15 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2015 10:22pm]
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