Smith handling the heat

12 October 2017 06:24:28 EST

Cameron Smith says he enjoyed the stifling conditions during the first round of the CIMB Classic after shooting a blemish-free 64 to claim the early lead.

The Australian seemed unaffected by the humid conditions in Kuala Lumpur as he opened up a one shot lead with his impressive eight-under par round.

Smith, who is 2000/1 to claim the second PGA Tour title of his career after his triumph at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in May, carded five birdies on the front nine before a further three after the turn, ending his day with back-to-back gains.

While other struggled to cope with the warm weather, Smith's Australian upbringing served him well and he admits he is enjoying life in Malaysia.

He said: “I grew up in Brisbane. It’s kind of similar to this but obviously not as bad as this. But yeah, I enjoy the heat. I always play well in the heat for some reason, I honestly can’t tell you why.

“I have to keep the game-plan pretty much the same really: just be smart off the tee, try to hit the fairways and then really aggressive into the greens. It worked so I’ll keep that one.”

Poom Saksansin and American pair Xander Schauffele and Keegan Bradley are hot on Smith's trail sitting in a tie for second, while last week's Safeway Open winner Brendan Steele is three behind.

Defending champion Justin Thomas struggled out the blocks as he mixed five birdies and three bogeys for a round of 70 to leave him six behind Smith.

Thomas is 4/1 to land the CIMB Classic after the first round, while last year's runner-up Hideki Matsuyama is 9/1 after matching Thomas' score of 70.

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