Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Rikard Karlberg of Sweden birdied his last two holes for a 7-under 65 Thursday to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of the CIMB Classic.
Karlberg also had five birdies on the front nine in a bogey-free round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. After a round interrupted by a two-hour delay for thunderstorms, a trio of players were two shots back — Americans Brian Stuard and Billy Hurley III, plus Angelo Que of the Philippines.
Stuard, who is from Jackson and Oakland University, had five birdies on his front nine — including four straight from the 14th after starting on the 10th — but also had two bogeys. His second nine was smoother with birdies on No. 1 and No. 8, putting him in position to turn around a poor stretch that has seen him miss the cut at his previous three tournaments.
"I've played a couple good rounds and then I'll have a bad round, so I'm excited to play well to start with and hopefully I can keep it going," Stuard said.
Karlberg, among the top 10 Asian Tour players who qualified for the jointly sanctioned PGA Tour event, said he benefited from a more relaxed approach after struggling with lingering viral infection that has affected his season.
"It gets you a little bit stressed out," Karlberg said. "I just stopped almost enjoying the game. I was a little bit frustrated before the two last tournaments coming into this week."
The Swede, who splits his time between the Asian and European Tours, is making only his third PGA Tour appearance after missing the cut twice in the U.S. Open.
"Just enjoy it and have fun out there made a big difference to me," he said. "So I haven't really thought about it as a big event."
Eight players were tied a stroke further back, including defending champion Ryan Moore, who finished his round with four successive birdies.
Veteran Davis Love III sank an eagle at the 10th to also shoot a 68, along with American compatriots Kevin Streelman and Jeff Overton.
Sergio Garcia, the top-ranked player in the field, had four birdies on his outward nine en route to a 69 to sit tied for 13th with nine others.
Garcia was relatively content with his round despite several narrowly missed putts.
"It was one of those day where instead of lipping in, they seemed to lip out, and I probably had at least four or five putts that looked like they were going to go in and didn't," Garcia said.
France's Alexander Levy had five straight birdies in the middle of his round and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the lead in the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
Levy began the birdie run on the par-4 ninth on Lake Malaren's Masters Course. He won the Volvo China Open in Shenzhen in April for his first European Tour title and took the rain-shortened Portugal Masters this month, becoming the first Frenchman to win two events in a single season on the European Tour.
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts was a stroke back along with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and France's Romain Wattel.
Top-ranked Inbee Park birdied five of the last seven holes for an 8-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship in Taipei.
The South Korean star, playing her first round since regaining the No. 1 spot in the world Monday, was tied with China's Shanshan Feng after her bogey-free round at Miramar.
Feng eagled the par-5 sixth hole and had six birdies in her bogey-free round.
Tom Pernice Jr. shot a 5-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer and three others in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pernice rebounded from a bogey on the par-3 17th with a birdie on the par-5 18th on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course. The 55-year-old player won the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa in June for his third career victory on the 50-and-older tour.
Langer won the Charles Schwab Cup points title last week in San Antonio, taking a lot of the drama out of the season-ending event. The 57-year-old German star has a tour-high five victories — two of them majors — and also has wrapped up the season money title with $2,916,189.
Jay Haas, Kenny Perry and Joe Durant matched Langer at 66.