Chris Paisley's purple patch continues in Malaysia
Maintaining a purple patch that earned him a maiden European Tour win in the South African Open then top-five finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the 31-year-old Englishman carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 at Saujana Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.
On a day when a threat of storms held up play for an hour and 50 minutes, Paisley led by a shot from compatriot David Horsey and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera when darkness descended, leaving 40 players having to complete their rounds on Friday morning.
Scott Jamieson carded a four-under-par 68 in the morning to sit joint-10th alongside fellow Scot Marc Warren, who has three holes remaining. Also still to finish, Stephen Gallacher and Richie Ramsay are both on two-under, as is Thai-based Scot Simon Yates.
Paisley, who was mentored by Dean Robertson as an amateur and is managed by Brian Marchbank, signed for halves of 33-32 as he continued to ride on a wave of confidence.
“It was great and nice to keep the form going,” he said of his effort. “I played really solid, hit it well off the tee so gave myself a lot of wedges and short irons into the greens and gave myself a lot of birdie chances.
“It couldn’t have gone better and I’m really happy. I’ve been playing really well, so it’s nice to keep it going.”
Asked about the hot and humid conditions this week, he added: “That’s the hardest part. With not much wind, scoring-wise it is quite easy. But it is quite difficult keeping your focus with how tiring the heat is.”
Horsey, who also got off to a good start with a 63 in Dubai last week, carded an eagle and six birdies in his effort while Lorenzo-Vera had picked up an eagle and five birdies in his opening 16 holes before play was suspended.
Two other Frenchman, Ryder Cup contender Alexander Levy and former Scottish Open Stroke-Play champion Romain Wattel, both opened with 67s to sit in a group that also includes Andrew “Beef” Johnston.
Jamieson, who was struggling with blisters on his feet in Dubai last week, was bogey-free, as was Warren, who opened with a 63 in this event two years ago, before play came to a halt.
China’s Haotong Li, who pipped Rory McIlroy in Dubai last weekend, had to settle for a 74 while 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson also faces a battle to make the cut after a 72.