Forsyth and Lane withstand stifling heat to set pace

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The Independent Online

Alastair Forsyth took a share of the first-round lead in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open yesterday despite being on the point of collapse.

Temperatures here reached 38C (100F) and sparked off an afternoon thunderstorm which meant 36 players were unable to complete their opening round at Royal Selangor here.

The Scot was among the early starters and compiled an eight-under-par 63, which was matched by England's Barry Lane. The pair established a course record, though the 25-year-old Forsyth was afterwards amazed he had remained on his feet as he struggled to acclimatise to the heat and humidity.

"I feel terrible, to be honest," said Forsyth, who carded four birdies on each nine. "I don't know how I managed to play well. The last couple of holes were a real struggle. At the 16th I didn't know where I was. I stood over my second shot and my head was spinning and my legs were like jelly. I thought, 'I could miss this'.

"I've travelled everywhere – parts of Africa, Asia, South America – and thought I had experienced everything, but there isn't anywhere that compares to this. I've never felt bad with the heat before. I must have drunk about 17 bottles of water but I'm going to have to go and see someone and see if there is anything I can do to rehydrate or I doubt I'll be able to keep going for another three days. I think I'll take the umbrella tomorrow for some shade."

Forsyth is aiming to regain the card he lost last year and is playing on a sponsors' invitation after missing his card by one place on the Order of Merit in 2001.

Sergio Garcia was included on the money list despite only playing in 10 events – one less than the minimum requirement for membership – because he was credited with 11 due to the cancellation of the American Express Championships in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

If Garcia had not been included in the money list, Forsyth would have moved up to the 115th and final qualifying spot, but the European Tour refused to exclude the Spaniard and instead reached a compromise with Forsyth and his manager, Ian Doyle, who had threatened legal action.

Forsyth has been guaranteed 26 starts this season on a mixture of invites and his ranking, and could render the whole saga irrelevant with a win on Sunday, the £116,000 first prize and a two-year exemption.

Nick Faldo fared best of the big names on show with a 68, with New Zealand's Michael Campbell carding a 69 and Padraig Harrington firing a 70. Drenched in sweat after his round, Faldo looked as though someone had thrown a bucket of water over him. He said: "I played all right but playing when the shirt is soaked and weighing three pounds is tough. It felt like a good, solid plod and it was nice to get the round finished."