Published Thursday, 17 April 2014
Ballymoney-born Michael Hoey in action during round one on Thursday. (© Getty)
He is matched by Portugal's Ricardo Santos while defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat returned a one-under-par 71, one shot better than former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts, meanwhile, rediscovered top form to set the pace for the first round.
Westwood's best finish this season is a share of seventh place in the Masters last week, while Colsaerts has not recorded a single top-15 finish on the PGA Tour in 2014.
However, both players made light of the long journey from the United States to Kuala Lumpur, Westwood taking the clubhouse lead with a seven-under-par 65 and Colsaerts just a shot behind.
Hoey said: "A lot of putts went in, that was the highlight. I holed a 50-footer on the 13th up the hill. It was good chipping and putting all the way, so I'm really happy.
"It's weird because my grips hadn't set properly and I didn't have a lot of confidence before I went out. The grips were moving slightly so I had to hold down the grip. So it just shows you in golf if you have low expectations you can play well."
A delay of just over 75 minutes in the afternoon due to the threat of lightning meant the first round was not completed on schedule, with play set to resume at 7:40am local time on Friday.
© UTV News