Graeme McDowell neck and neck with Lee Westwood at Malaysian Open

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in action during the second round of the 2015 Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on February 6, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell matched each other virtually shot-for-shot to share the first-round lead at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The pair - who shared a ninth-placed finish in Dubai last week - both carded six-under-par 66s, recording their only bogeys at the 420-yard sixth, to edge one clear of England's Tommy Fleetwood.

It was no surprise as McDowell, 20th in the world, and Westwood, 30th and defending champion, are the two highest-ranked players in the field at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Westwood, starting at the 10th, had four birdies to the turn while McDowell, playing in the group behind, had three.

McDowell birdied the first and second to be five under through 11 with Westwood reaching a similar score after 12.

Westwood missed a six-foot par putt at the sixth - McDowell failed to get up and down from the front of that green - but holed a six-footer at the seventh and again from 20 feet at the ninth.

McDowell also birdied those holes and could have had the outright lead had he not missed from five feet at the short eighth.

"I putted very nicely and started the ball on line well," Westwood told

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

"It's probably the toughest I've ever seen this golf course play."

McDowell was more satisfied with his form off the tee.

"I'm pretty happy. I hit the ball great today - drove it well and gave myself a lot of looks for birdie," he said.

"I've liked the way this golf course looks from the start and I enjoyed playing it this morning with good company from the boys; it's a solid start."

Fleetwood holed a lengthy birdie putt at the eighth for his 67 to move alongside home favourite Danny Chia and South Korea's Kan Sung-hoon on five under.