Charl, Louis fight off jetlag in Malaysia

Charl Schwartzel rode Louis Oosthuizen’s coattails to a superb eight-under-par 64 to lead the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

And, just for good measure, Oosthuizen defied jetlag with his friend and carded a six-under-par 66 to lie in a share of third behind India’s Jeev Milka Singh.

“I felt surprisingly good today,” said Schwartzel, just four days after presenting Bubba Watson with the green jacket at the Masters.

He and Oosthuizen shared a weary flight from the United States to Malaysia for the event, and Oosthuizen had even more to overcome – the deflation of losing to Watson in a playoff.

But the pair seemed to have thrived on the vicissitudes and turned on a display to showcase their abilities.

“I got a good night’s sleep and woke up this morning before the alarm,” said Schwartzel. “The tiredness seems to catch me more in the afternoon than the morning so it felt pretty good. I’ll go back this afternoon and get some rest.”

Schwartzel started on the 10th and turned in 33 after three birdies and a bogey, before putting his approach to the first to within a metre. That sparked a run of five birdies in seven holes for a brilliant inward 31 as he looks for his first victory since he won the Masters a year ago.

He admitted that Oosthuizen’s form was an inspiration to him. “Louis is playing so well right that it is impressive to watch and helped me on,” he said.

“Hopefully we can do the same again tomorrow. It is a long way to go and there are a lot of birdie opportunities out there but if I can keep playing the way I did today then I should have a chance on Sunday.”

Oosthuizen holed a 10-footer at the seventh for the last of his six birdies, and while there was no albatross like the one he produced at the par-five second during the final round of the Masters, there was an eagle three at the third after a long iron approach found the green.

“I feel like I’m swinging well,” he said. “I think a lot of times, we’re used to a lot of travel and we adapt quickly. We knew there was always going to be one tough round which is normally the first one and luckily for us, it was early in the morning. We can have a nice rest now.

“We played well. Charl played really well; he could have shot 10- or 11-under if he wanted to. It is great to see him play well; it was nice playing together when you’re playing well.”

Next best of the South Africans was Branden Grace at three-under, with Jbe’ Kruger on two-under.

South African Open champion Hennie Otto was on one-under while Keith Horne and Tjaart van der Walt were on level-par with Adilson Da Silva and Peter Karmis.

Richard Sterne was two-over and George Coetzee carded 75.

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