Golf: Westwood and McDowell share lead after first round in Malaysian Open

Former world No.1 Lee Westwood (left) made a good start to his Malaysian Open title defence on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015, sharing the first-round lead with Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell (right) on six-under 66. -- PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA
Former world No.1 Lee Westwood (left) made a good start to his Malaysian Open title defence on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015, sharing the first-round lead with Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell (right) on six-under 66. -- PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Former world No.1 Lee Westwood made a good start to his Malaysian Open title defence on Thursday, sharing the first-round lead with Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell on six-under 66.

Englishman Westwood, who cantered to a seven-stroke win last year, mixed seven birdies with one bogey at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club that is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

"I putted very nicely and started the ball on line well," said Westwood who featured prominently at the Dubai Desert Classic last week.

"I left a couple short in the middle when I was fooled by the grain but, overall, I'm very happy," he told reporters.

Former US Open champion McDowell matched Westwood's seven-birdie haul after also starting on the back nine.

"I'm pretty happy," said the Northern Irishman who finished tied for ninth with Westwood in Dubai.

Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley went round in 69 and was tied for 10th.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and Asian Tour Order of Merit winner David Lipsky of the United States started with 72s.