Chris Paisley has a Masters debut in his sights after continuing his stunning start to the season by setting the clubhouse target on day one of the Maybank Championship.
Paisley won his maiden European Tour title in the BMW SA Open three weeks ago and followed that up with fifth-place finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The 31-year-old from Hexham carried on where he left off at Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur with a bogey-free 65 giving him a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman David Horsey and France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera.
Paisley was ranked 289th in the world at the end of 2017, but could move into the top 50 with a victory on Sunday.
Woodsome Hall’s Chris Hanson, who finished sixth on Sunday, started his round at the 10th and opened with three consecutive birdies. He added a fourth at the fifth hole as he carded a blemish-free 68 to share 10th place.
World number 12 Henrik Stenson is seven shots off the lead after an opening 72 matched by former Open champion Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. Former Masters champion Danny Willett fought back from carding five bogeys in succession on the front nine to card a two-over-par 74.