Allenby leads by one in Malaysia

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

SELANGOR, Malaysia -- Australian Robert Allenby fired a course-record tying, eight-under 63 Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.

The 63 was Allenby's best round since he fired a final-round, five-under 65 at the AT&T National in July. Allenby is looking for his first win anywhere since December 2009, when he won in back-to-back weeks at the Nedbank Challenge and the Australian PGA Championship.

PGA Tour rookie Jhonattan Vegas is one stroke back at minus-seven. Fredrik Jacobson posted a six-under 65 and is alone in third.

This is the first unofficial event of the PGA Tour's offseason, and it is the second year of the event.

Allenby, who was one of Greg Norman's captains picks for this year's Presidents Cup, converted a birdie chance on the par-three second and came right back with a birdie on the third.

The 40-year-old, who was in the third group out, carded two straight birdies from the fifth at The Mines Resort and Golf Club to climb to four-under par.

Allenby cruised to four straight pars from the seventh. At the par-five 11th, he sank an eight-footer for birdie and was alone in the lead at minus-five.

After three pars in a row, Allenby caught fire to close out the round. He sank a five-foot birdie chance on the 15th and followed with a birdie at 16.

Allenby made it three straight as his 12-foot birdie effort on the 17th found the bottom of the cup. He parred the last to end one clear of his playing partner, Vegas.

"I hit it very well. Really just hit one bad tee shot at the last, but I still managed to a make a good up and down for par. Overall, I'm very happy with the way I'm playing, and the way I'm hitting and it was just nice to score well," Allenby said in a television interview.

"I played well here last year too. I finished fifth. I'm very familiar with the course and it sets up well for me."

Vegas was chasing Allenby throughout the round. Vegas, who won the Bob Hope Classic this year, carded his first birdie on the par-five third, but he gave that stroke right back with a bogey on No. 4.

The Venezuelan atoned for that error with a birdie on the fifth, and he got to two-under when his birdie effort at No. 8 fell into the cup. Like Allenby, Vegas birdied the par-five 11th.

As Allenby was making three straight birdies from the 15th, Vegas did him one better. Vegas got up and down for birdie on the driveable 15th and followed with birdies on 16 and 17 to match Allenby's run.

Vegas made it four in a row as he nearly dunked his second shot at the par- four 18th. He settled for a kick-in birdie to end one behind Allenby.

NOTES: Defending champion Ben Crane carded a two-under 69 and is tied for 19th...The PGA Tour unofficial schedule continues next week with the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions.


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