• Westwood and McDowell lead the field on six-under
• Paul Waring records ninth ace of European Tour season
DANNY WILLETT | EUROPEAN TOUR
European Tour Race to Dubai leader Danny Willett has been forced to retire from the Maybank Malaysian Open with a back injury.
The 27-year-old, who won the Nedbank Challenge in December, withdrew following a bogey on the 12th hole that left him three-over par.
Clearly disappointed, Danny Willett tweeted:
Reigning champion Lee Westwood is tied for the lead on six-under alongside European Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell after round one, with the Northern Irishman playing in the competition for the first time since 2008. Both players recorded seven birdies in their rounds but bogeyed the same hole, the par-4 6th.
Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Chia and Sunghoon Kang are a shot back on five-under, while Alejandro Canizares, Anders Hansen, Prom Meesawat and Richard Bland are on four-under.
Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley got off to a solid start and is in a tie for tenth place along with Stephen Gallacher on three-under, while fellow Scot Marc Warren is a further shot back.
The shot of the day came at the par-3 15th when Paul Waring holed out from 196 yards with a 7-iron for the ninth ace of the European Tour season. That shot helped the Englishman to a round of 69 and he sits beside McGinley and Gallacher in the leaderboard.
Delighted with his shot, the 30-year-old tweeted afterwards:
Danny Willett retires from Maybank Malaysian Open :: Your thoughts
Following Willett's withdrawal, will Lee Westwood be able to claim back-to-back victories in this competition following an excellent opening round of 66 or will it be somebody else who wins in Kuala Lumpur? Leave your thoughts on the European Tour event in the 'Comments' section below.