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Thomas hopes for CIMB Classic hat-trick

Thomas hopes for CIMB Classic hat-trick

The 2017 FedEx Cup victor and two-time defending champion in Malaysia began his 2017-'18 PGA Tour season with a good-but-not-great two-under 70 at TPC Kuala Lumpur, his second-worst round in the event. The Thai is one stroke behind Cameron Smith after the first round of the CIMB Classic.

Smith opened with a blemish-free 8-under 64 and leads a U.S. PGA Tour event after the first round for the first time in 64 starts. His previous best start in 63 tour events is a T-2 at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he eventually finished T-11.

Lahiri, third a year ago at the same event, is coming of a tied-9th finish in the last start on the PGA Tour in the BMW Champion- ships, the third leg of the FedExCup play-offs.

Smith posted eight birdies, including five on the front nine.

The world number four hopes to extend his good form by wining a third successive victory at the PGA Tour event at the TPC Kuala Lumpur, which begins Thursday.

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Schauffele, who hit a course low of 65, said he had "hit a lot of fairways and kind of made an easy day out of it". "I pretty much tried to copy everything he did because I figured he's a good guy to imitate out here".

"I was supposed to make a list of goals before I came out here and I failed to do so, which might be a good thing", Schauffele said. Keegan Bradley, Xander Schauffele and Poom Saksansin of Thailand were tied for second at 7 under.

Poom Saksansin hopes to be the first player since Jim Benepe in 1988 to win on his PGA tour.

Matsuyama finished runner-up at the event in Malaysia past year, losing out to American Justin Thomas by three strokes, and he is fancied to challenge for victory once again.

The $7 million CIMB Classic is co-sponsored by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour, with prize money for the victor of $1.26 million. Among those with 67s who are tied for eight are Brendan Steele, last week's victor at the Safeway Open, and Davis Love III.


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