Date: March 07, 2008

Fraser fires but settles for second

A white-hot opening round of eight-under-par on the opening day of any tournament will often have you well clear of the field. For Australian Marcus Fraser, that score to start the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur was just good enough to grab a slice of second. Fraser fired a first day 64 to be two strokes adrift of Englishman Nick Dougherty, the early pacesetter at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club. The pick of Australians has plenty of compatriots for company at the head of the leaderboard. Scott Strange found his touch early to record 66 while Kane Webber and Marcus Both are one stroke further back. Another couple of their countrymen, Scott Barr and Tony Carolan, signed for rounds of 68. But Liverpudlian Dougherty got his tactics spot-on and earned his lead after an amazing 10-under-par round. It was a sizzling start from the frontrunner with 10 birdies in his first 13 holes, briefly raising hopes of the first 59 on the European Tour. He had to settle for playing his remaining five holes in regulation but even so the 25-year-old was more than happy with his performance. “It was a great start to the tournament. It was my lowest round on tour and it sets me up well,” said Dougherty, whose maiden win came at the Singapore Masters in 2005. “I drove the ball really well and putted really well and while my iron play wasn&apost up to scratch, the good thing was that my misses were all in the right places.” “It was nice to string some birdies together because that&aposs one thing I&aposve been lacking. It&aposs superb to string seven together today and 10 in all and have no bogeys.” Dougherty took advantage of benign conditions early in the day to card his best competitive round as a professional. Former US Open champion Michael Campbell withdrew from the tournament due to heat exhaustion after completing his opening round. The New Zealander was in last place on 12-over after a disastrous 84 that included three double bogeys and a triple bogey. Round 1 results Malaysian Open -10 Nick Dougherty (England) 62 -8 Simon Dyson (England), Marcus Fraser (Australia) 64 -7 Keith Horne (South Africa), Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark), Danny Chia (Malaysia), Daniel Vancsik (Argentina) 65 -6 Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Robert-Jan Dersken (Netherlands), Scott Strange (Australia), Carlos Rodiles (Spain), Oliver Wilson (England), Mark Brown (New Zealand), Peter Hedblom (Sweden), S.S.P Chowrasia (India), Rafael Echenique (Argentina) 66