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Aussies steady as Burgoon leads Classic

Australia’s Mark Leishman and Cameron Smith have made solid starts to the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, where American Bronson Burgoon set the early pace.

Leishman’s tidy four-under 68 leaves him five strokes adrift of Burgoon, who constructed his second best round of the year on Thursday, a stunning 63 featuring eight birdies and an eagle.

Still seeking his first win on the PGA Tour, Burgoon made the ideal first step to achieving that goal at the TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course though he only leads compatriot Austin Cook by a stroke.

Two other Americans, Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, and Taiwan’s C.T. Pan were another stroke back after 65s.

Leishman was in a tie for 20th thanks to five birdies and a solitary bogey while Australia’s other representative Cameron Smith was a shot further back at three-under.

Smith recorded six birdies though his round slumped when he dropped three strokes in quick succession by double bogeying the 14th and then dropping another stroke on the 15th.

Fortunately the 25-year-old Queenslander pulled back a shot on 18 to sign for a 69.

New Zealand’s Danny Lee had the first ace of the 2018-19 season by holing out on the par-3 fourth hole. He used a 9-iron from 145 yards for his third career hole-in-one.

That highlight was tempered by a quadruple bogey eight on the 14th, a setback that also left him at three-under.

Burgoon, ranked 162nd, had only one bogey on the par-4 13th.

“I drove it well and I putted pretty good, so it was kind of boring golf, but that’s always a good thing,” he said.

“I chipped in for eagle out of the bunker on my ninth hole, which kind of boosted me, then I kept going.”

Burgoon’s best result last season was tied for second at the John Deere Classic. He finished tied for 53rd at the Safeway Open last week.

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