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Moore Red-Hot in Malaysia
After a bogey on the very first hole, American Ryan Moore turned things around quickly in the opening round of the $7 million CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.
The 30-year-old reeled off 10 birdies the rest of the way to take the 18-hole lead in the PGA Tour event with a 9-under 63. The Tacoma, Wash., leads Keegan Bradley by two and Sergio Garcia by three.
Moore, who was the defending champion at last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where he finished tied for ninth nine strokes behind winner Webb Simpson, has carded five straight sub-70 rounds. (Simpson isn't playing this week.)
"It was really just a huge bonus that (the season) starts now," he 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 anyways so just the fact that they count, that's huge." (See below for Moore's full post-round interview.)
Bradley didn't have a blemish on his card. The 26-year-old from Vermont posted five birdies on the front half and two more on the back for his 65.
"I wanted to be prepared for this tournament so I worked pretty hard the last couple weeks," said the 2011 PGA champion. "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 said he was inspired after playing with Malaysia's queen in Wednesday's pro-am. "I didn't know what to expect when it comes down to royalty but she was very, very relaxed. Very chill," the Spaniard said.
When he hit a poor shot Wednesday, Garcia said Sultanah Haminah Hamidun provided encouragement. "She said, 'Nah, tomorrow you'll hit it right. Don't worry, you'll be fine.' "
The queen was right because Garcia also enjoyed a spotless scorecard that showed three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back.
Sharing fourth with 67s are Rory Sabbatini, Boo Weekley, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Chris Kirk and Chris Stroud.
Defending champion Nick Watney opened with a 3-over 75, while Phil Mickelson in his season debut had a 71.
Watney opened with two straight bogeys but offset those with two birdies to make the turn in even-par 36. On the home half, however, things didn't improve as he carded three bogeys. "Pretty much everything went wrong. I putted terribly, didn't drive the ball into the fairway enough," said the Sacramento native. "I'm disappointed, especially coming this far to play poorly."
"I'm swinging awful. I'm swinging terribly at the ball," said Mickelson, who had five birdies but two double-bogeys. "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."
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.
MODERATOR: All right. Our clubhouse leader, Ryan Moore, at the CIMB Classic. An incredible round, 63. Just talk about what you had going right out there.
RYAN MOORE: You know, first and foremost on this golf course, you gotta put it in the fairway. The fairways are very small, and I started out doing that really well. I hit it in the fairway, and with ball in hand and the ability to clean the ball and give yourself a perfect lie every time, that's a huge advantage. So I was able to hit some good iron shots and started rolling in some putts kind of late in my first nine and just kind of kept it rolling the whole day.
MODERATOR: Birdied every par 3. That's gotta feel good.
RYAN MOORE: That might be the first time I've ever done that. I had 4 twos on my card. Especially these, I mean, because No. 11 was playing about 230 or 235, and yeah, I was hitting a 5 wood in there, hit a great shot to about eight feet. I mean you don't expect that all the time, but it was nice.
MODERATOR: This will be your third trip out of four events here to Malaysia. Just talk about what you like about being here in Kuala Lumpur.
RYAN MOORE: Yeah. I've enjoyed it every time. I've had great experiences. I think it's a great city, fun to go explore. Obviously it's a little bit warm, but I like it warm rather than cold. So I enjoy traveling this way and coming out to this part of the world and playing golf. It's just fun.
MODERATOR: We'll take some questions.
Q. You had some momentum coming off of last week's play. Good stretch of the season with last week as well, and if you could talk about the adjustments you had to make with the new season starting so early this year as opposed to other years.
RYAN MOORE: Well, I mean for me it wasn't a huge adjustment. It was really just a huge bonus that it starts now when it did. I mean those are events like Vegas, that's home for me. And then this event, which I've really enjoyed the last couple years, they're events I would play anyway. So just the fact that they count, I mean, that's huge. So it was a really nice start to come out, have a Top 10, and I'd had four weeks off, I think, going into that. And you know, to get some good positive momentum, play some decent golf. I didn't play amazing, but had a good solid week. So to roll that into this week, I think it definitely helped, you know, just to get a little positive momentum.
Q. How important was your practice round before today's game? How did that influence your choice of clubs and so forth today? And second question relating to last year you were playing at the Mines do you find the two courses compatible or do you have a preference over another?
RYAN MOORE: As far as the practice rounds, I mean obviously it's huge. I didn't get a chance to come out here Tuesday afternoon. I didn't get in till around 1, I think I was to the hotel by maybe 2, 2:30 or something Tuesday. So I really didn't get a chance to come out here. And we were very fortunate we didn't get rained out or didn't get a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon at all and were able to get in the whole golf course because it is the type of golf course you really need to see once at least to just get your bearings, and there's a lot of bunkering. They're all put right in the perfect spot it seems like, too. They really, really make you think about it.
Obviously it helped, you know, I hit a couple of clubs yesterday off tees and I definitely made an adjustment today and maybe hit a little less club or maybe hit a little more club based on the bunkering and the space in between them and stuff like that. So it was huge, I mean, just to get comfortable with tee shots. There's a lot of uphill and severely downhill tee shots, and you know, very downhill tee shots are uncomfortable if you don't know what's out there. If you get the ball going a little bit off line, you can get in some serious trouble. So to get comfortable on some of those tee shots was huge for today.
And as far as compatibility with the two courses, they're very different golf courses. Condition wise, I'd say fairly comparable. You know, the course was always in pretty good shape at The Mines and greens rolled all right. I would personally say it was a more difficult golf course, just because it's, you know, very narrow off the tee, and then pretty severe rough. I mean it's really long and thick in places. And you know, you're hard pressed to get a 7 iron out of it and get it up around the green. Obviously you can get fortunate and have your ball sitting up a little bit. And I'd say on the greens, too, it's maybe a little bit more severe. So overall I'd say this is just a little bit more difficult.
Q. The 63 probably helped, though; right?
RYAN MOORE: I think I'm liking it so far.
Q. Just talk about starting out a tournament with a score this low, is that hard to follow up? Do you wish you could get right back out there or is just tomorrow a new day?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah. Tomorrow is a new day. Obviously it's a great score. It's a great way to start a week. Really the last time I had a good round like this to start, I won the tournament. That was in Vegas last year. I shot 61, I think, to start my week. So you know, it's always great to get off to a good start and get comfortable on a golf course, especially one that you haven't played before, and to go hit it in the right places, put it in the fairway, putting it on the greens, and for me it was huge just to make some putts.
You know, I just haven't made a lot of putts these last few weeks. I wasn't hitting the ball good my last few tournaments and just haven't converted a lot. And I made a couple of bonus putts that I made maybe a 55, 60 footer on must have been maybe 14, a little short par 4 coming down there, and then made about a 30 footer on the next hole. So those are some putts I haven't made a lot of those in a while so to see those go in is just some great positive momentum.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.
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