World number three Luke Donald insisted jet-lag was not a factor after finding himself nine shots off the lead in the opening round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Donald only arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after finishing fourth in the defence of his Tampa Bay Championship at the weekend, a result which had him looking forward with optimism to the Masters next month.

The 35-year-old was adamant the 12-hour time difference would not be a problem, but was nevertheless far from his best in compiling a two-over 74 in sweltering conditions, which saw two players retire ill before play was abandoned for the day in the late afternoon due to thunderstorms.

Tournament officials will now hope to get the event back on track over the next two days, with an early finish planned for Sunday to allow the country's prime minister to attend the prize-giving ceremony before heading to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"Today the game was quite tough for me," Donald told European Tour Radio. "It's one of those courses where if you are a little bit off it can get you.

"I did not play the hard holes very well and when I did have opportunities I couldn't take them on the greens. It was one of those frustrating rounds where I got very little momentum. It was a nice birdie on the last, so hopefully I can use that as a little bit of a kick-start for tomorrow's round.

"I got off to a slow start, three over after four, and was just hanging on after that. There's a lot of trouble out there and I found too much of it.

"I gave it my all on every shot and there's a low one out there. This course can produce some low scores and hopefully I can have mine tomorrow, that's what I need to get back into the mix for this tournament. I slept pretty well the last two nights and felt pretty good, it was just a case of not being quite on today."

Donald found himself nine shots off the clubhouse lead held by Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose 65 continued the excellent form of last week when he was fourth in the Avantha Masters.

Italy's Edoardo Molinari, Denmark's Anders Hansen and France's Gregory Bourdy were a shot behind after rounds of 66, while Scotland's Scott Jamieson was six under through 10 holes and pre-tournament favourite Charl Schwartzel four under after 11 before play was suspended.