McDowell and Westwood go toe-to-toe

Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell matched each other virtually shot-for-shot to share the first-round lead at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Graeme McDowell. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Graeme McDowell. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Graeme McDowell. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

The pair - who shared a ninth-placed finish in Dubai last week - both carded six-under-par 66s, recording their only bogeys at the 420-yard sixth, to edge one clear of England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

It was no surprise as McDowell, 20th in the world, and Westwood, 30th and defending champion, are the two highest-ranked players in the field at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Westwood, starting at the 10th, had four birdies to the turn while McDowell, playing in the group behind, had three.

McDowell birdied the first and second to be five under through 11 with Westwood reaching a similar score after 12.

Westwood missed a six-foot par putt at the sixth - McDowell failed to get up and down from the front of that green - but holed a six-footer at the seventh and again from 20 feet at the ninth.

McDowell also birdied those holes and could have had the outright lead had he not missed from five feet at the short eighth.

“I’m pretty happy. I hit the ball great today - drove it well and gave myself a lot of looks for birdie,” McDowell said.

“I’ve liked the way this golf course looks from the start.”

and I enjoyed playing it this morning with good company from the boys; it’s a solid start.”

Fleetwood holed a lengthy birdie putt at the eighth for his 67 to move alongside home favourite Danny Chia and South Korea’s Kan Sung-hoon on five under.