Australian Smith leads by one at CIMB Classic

Australian Cameron Smith blitzed the TPC Kuala Lumpur with a flawless eight-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over a top-quality field after the opening round of the US$7 million (S$9.5m)CIMB Classic yesterday.

Smith, who won his first US PGA Tour title at the Zurich Classic team event in May, picked up five shots on the way out and three more over the last five holes to stand a shot clear of Thai Poom Saksansin and Americans Xander Schauffele and Keegan Bradley.

World No. 4 Justin Thomas, who has won the tournament for the last two years with a combined score of 49 under, left himself with some work to do in his quest for a "three-peat" after posting a two-under 70. World No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama also posted a 70.

Kevin Na nailed a 45-foot putt for a birdie at the 15th and then holed an iron for an eagle at the 16th but bogeyed the last to drop to a share of fifth with fellow Americans Gary Woodland and Pat Perez after carding a 66.

Davis Love III, 53, is tied for eighth after a 67. - REUTERS