Maybin leads Irish challenge in Kuala Lumpur

US Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim complained that he putted "like Ray Charles" as Gareth Maybin led the Irish charge at the Maybank Malaysian Open in steamy Kuala Lumpur.

Gareth Maybin opened with a 69 in MalaysiaWorld No 11 Kim was baffled by the slow, grainy greens at Saujana Golf and Country Club, taking 38 putts in a nightmare, birdie-free 78 that left him 16 shots behind teenage leader Seung-Yul Noh of Korea.

Maybin, currently 22nd in the Race to Dubai standings, was one-over par after nine holes but came back in 32 thanks to four birdies and no dropped shots to card a three under par 69 that left him in a share of 17th place.

The Ballyclare man is seven shots behind 17-year-old Noh, who shot a blistering, 10-under par 62 to lead by a stroke from playing partner Alex Noren of Sweden.

Satisified with his opening score, Maybin said: “I'm pretty pleased with three under par and I can build on that. I played the back nine really well with four birdies, so that was nice.

"Overall, there was nothing special and nothing awful, the greens are so unbelievably grainy that you have to accept you are going to miss putts and get on with it.”

Peter Lawrie could only manage a level par round of 72 after a real mixed bag of a day. The Dubliner was four under par after 11 holes but dropped four shots on the spin from the third - his 12th - to finish the day one stroke outside the top 65 and ties who will make the cut. 

Gary Murphy and Damien McGrane both endured tough days and will need vast improvements on Friday if they are to survive. McGrane, a winner in Asia at last year’s Volvo China Open, will rue double bogeys at both the ninth and 15th when he looks back at his one-over-par round of 73.

Murphy, meanwhile, was already four over when he got to his sixth hole of the day after starting on the 10th. Three birdies were later cancelled out by two bogeys and a double bogey as he closed with a disappointing, five-over-par 79.