Date: March 22, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Part-time Fraser shines in Malaysia

Marcus Fraser's competitive fire is hard to douse.

The "part-time" touring pro surprised himself but few others on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

The Corowa veteran and Spain’s Nacho Elvira enjoyed matching seven-under-par 65s to lead Angelo Que, of the Philippines, Austria’s Matthias Schwab and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond by a stroke.

And completing a good day for the "River Men", Wodonga's Zach Murray continued his good form to seventh after an opening 68 at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.

Fraser, who won the inaugural Maybank Championship in 2016, said he was shocked to hold the early lead, mostly courtesy of some superb putting.

"I've been playing well having a hit at home, but I haven't played a whole lot of competitive golf," Fraser said.

"It was nice to go out and play well in a great tournament."

Fraser, 40, hasn't won anywhere since his Malaysian triumph in 2016 when he was not only an Australian Olympian, but also runner-up on the Asian Tour's order of merit.

"I'm definitely a part time golfer these days. It's nice to go out on the golf course and it doesn't mean as much as it used to," he said.

"I think when you've got that mind-set it probably helps. I was more surprised than anyone going out there and shooting seven under."

Among the Australians in the field, Terry Pilkadaris, Lucas Herbert and Scott Hend all carded 69s to share 15th, Travis Smyth fired a 70 to sit T26 and fellow New South Welshman Jake Higginbottom shot an even-par 72 to share 41st and West Australians Minwoo Lee and Jason Scrivener carded 73s.