THAILAND’S Jazz Janewattananond and Indian Veer Ahlawat shot sparkling nine-under-par 62s to take the first-round lead in the US$1million IRS Prima Malaysian Open today – both crediting the much-needed off-season downtime for their strong showings.

Canadian Richard T. Lee fired a 63, while Malaysians Gavin Green and Khavish Varadan shot 64s at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, in the Asian Tour’s first event of the year.

“Really good start to the week and the year as well. A good long break seems to have done me some good. I got a lot of rest and played some golf,” said seven-time Asian Tour winner Jazz.

“I went to Korea to work with new coaches, BFG Korea – that’s a golf school. It did me a lot of good. Head coach there is Si Woo Lee. I have just been working on my balance, getting my balance back. I was with them for three weeks.”

The 28-year-old is also determined to right the wrongs of the past few years when his game failed to fire far too often.

He added: “I just want to be playing well this year. I don’t want a repeat of last year or the year before. I just want to be teeing up and feeling confident. I want to be in contention, I don’t like fighting to make the cuts, and I don’t like being left behind, and not playing for anything. To be on the golf course is good, but I would rather be on the golf course playing well. That’s my goal.”

He made seven birdies today and putted from off the edge of the green on 11 for an eagle.

Ahlawat, still looking for first Asian Tour win, dropped his only shot of the day on 18.

He said: “Really solid round, I drove the ball well and hit some really good second shots. Hitting them to seven, eight feet and holing them. Just dropped that shot on 18, where I got the wind direction wrong.”

He played his first full season on the Asian Tour in 2022, when he finished equal fifth in the Singapore Open – which remains his best result to date.

“My game has been feeling very good, just like my putting has been very good,” he said.

“I really worked on my body during the break. I tried to gain some yardage and I think I did gain a little bit but not much to be honest. My goal is to finally get a win this year and then have a lot of top 10s!”

As preferred lies were being played their 62s could not count as official course records, meaning American Tiger Woods’ 63 at the World Cup of Golf in 1999 is still the mark the beat.

Green, the Asian Tour number one in 2017, was bogey-free, with an eagle and five birdies.

“Not many big mistakes, I gave myself a lot of chances. I hit it good enough,” he said.

“I missed a couple of putts but the main thing is it is consistent. It is something that I am looking for and it’s something that is on path that me and my coach are working on.

“Other than that, we gave ourselves a lot of looks. Hit a lot of greens and made a nice eagle on 17th.”

Chinese-Taipei’s Lee Chieh-po returned a 65 along with Australian Kevin Yuan, England’s Steve Lewton, Filipino Justin Quiban, Korean Lion Park, John Catlin from the United States and Thai Danthai Boonma.

American Trevor Simsby, who won this event when it was last played in 2020 just before the global pandemic stopped play on the Tour, fired a 71.

Australian Wade Ormsby, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, came in with a 69, thanks to a hole-in-one on the par-three 165-yard second hole. He used a seven iron but sadly no prize is on offer there, unlike the par-three 16th – where an ace will earn you a Titoni Master Series luxury watch.

The week marks the 55th staging of Malaysia’s National Open.

The event is part of The Open Qualifying Series and will see the leading three players, not otherwise exempt, qualify for The Open at Royal Troon Golf Club July 18-21.

Scores after round 1 of the IRS Prima Malaysian Open, being played on The Mines Resort and Golf Club, a par 71, 6756 yards course (am - denotes amateur):

62 - Veer Ahlawat (IND), Jazz Janewattananond (THA).

63 - Richard T. Lee (CAN).

64 - Khavish Varadan (MAS), Gavin Green (MAS).

65 - Lee Chieh-po (TPE), Justin Quiban (PHI), John Catlin (USA), Danthai Boonma (THA), Kevin Yuan (AUS), Steve Lewton (ENG), Lion Park (KOR).

66 - Austen Truslow (USA), Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA), Andrew Dodt (AUS), David Puig (ESP), Sam Horsfield (ENG), Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), Nor Heikal Nor Hadi (MAS), Deyen Lawson (AUS), Guntaek Koh (KOR), Miguel Tabuena (PHI).

67 - Manav Shah (USA), Yongjun Bae (KOR), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Scott Hend (AUS), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Hanmil Jung (KOR), Maverick Antcliff (AUS), James Piot (USA), Gunn Charoenkul (THA), Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Sarit Suwannarut (THA), Sanghyun Park (KOR), Angelo Que (PHI), Naoki Sekito (JPN).

68 - Wooyoung Cho (KOR), Leunkwang Kim (MAS), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Ben Leong (MAS), Ian Snyman (RSA), Brendan Jones (AUS), Karandeep Kochhar (IND), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Jed Morgan (AUS), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Jordan Zunic (AUS), Tatsunori Shogenji (JPN), Taehee Lee (KOR), David Drysdale (SCO), Travis Smyth (AUS), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Poom Saksansin (THA), Bio Kim (KOR), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), Prom Meesawat (THA).

69 - Taichi Nabetani (JPN), Sam Brazel (AUS), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Minkyu Kim (KOR), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Ben Campbell (NZL), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Chikkarangappa S. (IND), Marcus Fraser (AUS), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Anson Yeo (am, MAS), Ye Wocheng (CHN), Pattaraphol Khanthacha (THA), Poosit Supupramai (THA), Chen Guxin (CHN), Seungtaek Lee (KOR), Yeongsu Kim (KOR), Jack Thompson (AUS), Charlie Lindh (SWE), Muhammad Danial Faidz (MAS), Shaifubari Muda (MAS).

70 - Daeng Rahman (MAS), Paul San (MAS), Seungsu Han (USA), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Ervin Chang (MAS), Berry Henson (USA), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Sangmoon Bae (KOR), Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (IND), Jared Du Toit (CAN), Jose Toledo (GUA), Settee Prakongvech (THA), Amir Nazrin (MAS), Ho Yu-cheng (TPE), R. Nachimuthu (MAS), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA), Honey Baisoya (IND), Justin Warren (AUS).

71 - Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA), Nateeshvar Anatha Ganesh (am, MAS), Charng-Tai Sudsom (THA), Douglas Klein (AUS), Matt Killen (ENG), Rashid Khan (IND), Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA), Denwit Boriboonsub (THA), Zach Murray (AUS), Trevor Simsby (USA), Taichi Kho (HKG), William Harrold (ENG).

72 - David Meyers (RSA), Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Natipong Srithong (THA), Galven Green (MAS), Mingyu Cho (KOR), Sihwan Kim (USA), Wilson Choo (MAS), Junggon Hwang (KOR), Varun Chopra (USA), Liu Yanwei (CHN), Takumi Kanaya (JPN), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Aaron Wilkin (AUS), Edven Ying (MAS), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA).

73 - Hariz Hezri (am, MAS), Danny Chia (MAS), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Carlos Pigem (ESP).

74 - Lam Kong Loong (MAS), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Malcolm Ting (MAS).

75 - Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS), Zia Iqmal Rashid (am, MAS), Lachlan Barker (AUS), Todd Sinnott (AUS).

76 - Airil Rizman Zahari (MAS), Mardan Mamat (SGP), Ajmal Amin Fajri (am, MAS).

77 - M. Sasidaran (MAS).

78 - Sukree Othman (MAS), Adif Haikal (am, MAS).

79 - Miguel Carballo (ARG), Chanmin Jung (KOR).

84 - Chee Ming Chong (MAS).