South African Louis Oosthuizen shrugged off the disappointment of his Masters play-off defeat to Bubba Watson to make a strong start at the Malaysian Open today.
Former Open champion Oosthuizen, who narrowly missed out on his second major crown at Augusta on Sunday, showed no signs of a mental hangover as he shot six birdies and an eagle in an opening-round 66.
His close friend, compatriot and playing partner Charl Schwartzel held the lead at the end of the first day following a sparkling eight-under 64, which included nine birdies.
Schwartzel, like Oosthuizen, had a 30-hour journey from the United States to Kuala Lumpur – he handed over the green jacket to Watson after winning the event last year – and was relieved to have felt few ill-effects.
“I felt surprisingly good today,” Schwartzel told www.europeantour.com. “I got a good night’s sleep and woke up this morning before the alarm.
“The tiredness seems to catch me more in the afternoon than the morning so it felt pretty good.
“I played very well today. It has been some time coming now because I have been working really hard for the last couple of months and I haven’t had anything happen for me.
“It could have been one or two lower as I missed a couple of chances towards the end there but I am happy with 64 – I haven’t shot a number like that for a while.”
Oosthuizen believes himself and Schwartzel adapted well to the course after a hectic few days.
“It was a long haul getting here,” he said. “I think me and Charl knew the first round concentration levels won’t be great, but we did well.
“I knew the swing was still good. It was just adapting to the weather and the green speed, but I putted beautifully again today and hope to keep it going for the week.
“I feel like I’m swinging well. I think a lot of times, we’re used to a lot of travel and we adapt quickly.
“We knew there was always going to be one tough round which is normally the first one and luckily for us, it was early in the morning. We can have a nice rest now.”
Jeev Milkha Singh is second after an opening 65 – which included an eagle at the par-five 10th – one shot ahead of Oosthuizen, American Jason Knutzon and fellow Indian Jyoti Randhawa.
Peter Lawrie is the best-placed Irishman on 1 over after a round of 73