Matteson produces magical 63, Woods trails by three
American Troy Matteson produced a magical eight-under-par 63, thanks to four closing birdies, including a closing hole "slam-dunk", as he put the shade on Tiger Woods in the first round of the USD 6.1 CIMB Classic here Thursday.
Matteson revelled in steamy conditions at the Mines Resort and Golf Club to lead by one stroke from countrymen Brian Harman, Robert Garrigus and Jeff Overton, who finished runner-up here last year.
In form Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar, who has won twice on the Asian Tour in the past two months, was a further stroke back with American Tom Gillis while 14-time Major champion Woods, Malaysia's Danny Chia and Jbe Kruger of South Africa were amongst those in tied seventh place on 66.
Woods, the tournament's top draw, lit up his back nine with five birdies to end the day three behind the leader. He struggled with a cold putter on his outward nine, missing two short putts on eight and nine to turn in level par before lighting up his inward stretch with five birdies.
"I felt in control on the back nine. Towards the end of the front nine, I was hitting it really well. Just missed a couple of short putts on eight and nine but I was hitting it really well. Just continued it and it felt really good on the back nine. I hit some really good shots," said Woods, who is returning to Malaysia for the first time since his triumph in the World Cup of Golf in 1999.
"Turning at even par, I felt like I just got run over there. It felt like I had to shoot something at least three, four under par on that back nine, and I happened to get one more, which is nice. It's going to take something like 20-plus to win the tournament, so got to be aggressive and go get it."
Two-time PGA Tour winner Matteson, making his debut at the CIMB Classic, was flawless and closed out his round with a birdie from the greenside bunker.
"The pin is really tricky on 18. I thought I hit a pretty good shot in there, and it just barely landed over the bunker and trickled back in the bunker, left me on the upslope. I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself seven or eight feet for par, and it bounced and slam dunked in the hole," he said.
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt shot a 70 to lie in tied 30th place.