Daily Wrap-up: CIMB Classic, Round 1October 24, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Ryan Moore is glad the PGA TOUR season is starting a little earlier this year at two tournaments where he loves to play.
Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, is at a loss to explain what the problem with his game is at the moment.
Moore had 10 birdies to shoot a 9-under 63 and take a two-shot lead Thursday after the opening round of the CIMB Classic, the third event on the PGA TOUR's new wraparound season this year.
The American is coming off a top-10 finish at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas last weekend -- a tournament he won last fall. He has now had five consecutive rounds under 70 to start the new season.
"It was really just a huge bonus that (the season) starts now," Moore said. "These are events like Vegas, that's home for me, and then this event which I've really enjoyed the last couple of years. They're events I would play anyway so just the fact that they count, that's huge."
Keegan Bradley had seven birdies to finish two strokes behind in second place at 7-under 65, and Sergio Garcia was another shot behind at 6 under.
Mickelson was in a share of 21st place after two errant drives off the tee - one into waist-high birds-of-paradise fringing the fairway, the other into the water - led to double-bogeys and an overall score of 1-under 71.
Playing for the first time since The Presidents Cup, he said his swing is as bad as it's been "in a long time."
"I'm swinging awful. I'm swinging terribly at the ball," he said. "The lead for me right now is irrelevant. It's so far off that that's the last thing on my mind because I just don't know where the ball is going."
Mickelson said he's been trying to correct the problem since just after his victory at The Open Championship, without much success.
"After I took a week off, I came back and (swing coach) Butch (Harmon) and I worked at the PGA and the TOUR Championship. And we just haven't been able to get it figured out, and it's just a little bit -- it's way off right now. It's as far off as it's ever been," Mickelson said.
He's so frustrated he doesn't even think extra practice would help at this point.
"I would go hit balls, but I don't know what to do to try to fix it," he said.
It was a tough day for defending champion Nick Watney and Ernie Els, as well.
Watney, who was paired with Mickelson in one of the last groups on the course, started the day with two bogeys on his first three holes and never fully recovered, ending up in a share of 65th place at 3 over.
"Pretty much everything went wrong. I putted terribly, didn't drive the ball into the fairway enough," he said. "I'm disappointed, especially coming this far to play poorly."
Els, also playing for the first time since his team lost The Presidents Cup, slumped to 70th place at 4 over after a quadruple-bogey on the 14th hole.
Bradley, meanwhile, could hardly have played better. In fact, he said it was one of his best rounds of the year.
He attributes his good form to taking just a short break after The Presidents Cup and getting back to the course quickly.
"I wanted to be prepared for this tournament so I worked pretty hard the last couple weeks," Bradley said. "I want to be a more consistent player out here. I want to win more. Most importantly, I want to contend at the majors and play better at the majors.
"I feel like there's no time to waste. I really want to get off to a fast start."
Garcia is also looking for his first PGA TOUR win since the Wyndham Championship in August 2012. He got some advice on the eve of the CIMB Classic from an unlikely source -- Malaysia's Queen, Sultanah Haminah Hamidun.
Garcia played with the queen in the Pro-Am event in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
"I didn't know what to expect when it comes down to royalty but she was very, very relaxed. Very chill," he said.
And when he hit an off shot, she gave him some encouragement that may have helped on Thursday.
"She said, `Nah, tomorrow you'll hit it right. Don't worry, you'll be fine,'" Garcia said.
The $7 million CIMB Classic is the first official PGA TOUR event in Asia, meaning it will count as an official victory for the first time and award FedExCup points.
About the leader: Ryan Moore
• With today’s first round being the first-ever official PGA TOUR event held at Kuala Lumpur G&CCs West Course, Ryan Moore set the course record with a 9-under par 63 that included a bogey-5 on his first hole of the day. The low professional score on the West Course was a 62 by Raphael Jacquelin in the third round at the 2006 Malaysian Open, with the course having undergone a renovation since then
Year and Tournament 18-holes Score Finish
2008 HP Byron Nelson Championship
T1 67 2
2012 Wells Fargo Championship
T1 65 T5
2012 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
1 61 1
2013 Wells Fargo Championship
T1 67 T6
2013 CIMB Classic
1 64 -- • Moore birdied all four par-3s in the first round. • Moore is making his third CIMB Classic start – he finished T5 in 2010 and withdrew during the final round in 2011. • Moore is a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR: 2009 Wyndham Championship and 2012 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Last year, Moore posted three top-10 finishes and finished 53rd in the FedExCup standings. • Last week in his title defense at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Moore finished T9 in his first start of 2013-14. • Moore is a native of the State of Washington and currently makes his home in Las Vegas. While playing collegiately at UNLV, Moore had one of the most impressive careers in the modern era of amateur golf, with victories at the the U.S. Amateur, the Western Amateur, the U.S. Amateur Public Links (twice) and the NCAA individual championship. Moore then turned professional in 2005 and earned his 2006 PGA TOUR card straight out of UNLV without having to go the PGA TOUR Qualifying School, joining players that had accomplished the feat before him: Gary Hallberg, Scott Verplank, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods. Bud Cauley did so in 2011 out of the University of Alabama. Moore's Round 1 statistics
11-14 Fairways (78.6 percent) Greens in Regulation 15-18 GIR (83.3 percent) Total Putts
25 Putting Average