Luiten leads after first round in Malaysia

Johor Bahru: Dutchman Joost Luiten was confirmed as the first round leader of the Iskandar Johor Open when play was completed early on Friday at the rain-hit USD 2 million co-sanctioned event.

A late afternoon thunderstorm halted play on Thursday and left 78 players to complete their first round at Horizon Hills early on Friday.

Luiten shot an eight-under par 63 prior to the stoppage and was still on top when the rest of the field finished.

Sweden`s Daniel Chopra joined defending champion Padraig Harrington, Marcus Fraser and Gregory Bourdy in second place a shot behind Luiten.

Chopra, who won the event in 1993, resumed his round in a greenside bunker on the sixth hole, which he birdied, and went on to card a 64.

"I stayed very patient as I knew this is a golf course where if you play well, you will be able to make some birdies," Chopra said.

"I didn`t hit the ball that well this morning. But now with a bit of break, maybe I can go out and hit some balls and find that momentum."

One of the biggest movers on Friday was Thailand`s Chapchai Nirat, who resumed his round tied for 14th but climbed the leaderboard with a 65 to finish in sixth spot.

Colin Montgomerie birdied his last hole in a two-under par round of 69.

Paul McGinley, meanwhile, has withdrawn from the event and returned home with a knee injury.

The Irishman is to undergo keyhole surgery on his left knee in the coming weeks but is hopeful of returning to competition in January. McGinley had an 81 in the first round.

Bureau Report

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