ANTALYA, Turkey – Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen took advantage of the wet conditions from an overnight storm to shoot 6-under 66s Thursday and share the first-round clubhouse lead in the Turkish Airlines Open.
South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and England’s Paul Casey and Steve Webster were one shot in front at 7 under but still on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course when darkness suspended play in the third event of the four-tournament Final Series on the European Tour. They and 60 other players from the 78-man field will finish the first round at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. EST) Friday. Thursday’s play had been delayed three hours.
“Tommy (Fleetwood) started with four birdies, so I didn’t feel like I was out thereby myself,” Casey said of the conditions. “I clearly felt, if these guys are making a lot of birdies, then the entire field is going to be making a lot of birdies.”
Casey was right, as 61 players were under par when the horn sounded postponing play.
“Scoring is really low,” said Charl Schwartzel, who was 4 under through 12 holes. “If you’re not making birdies, then you’re going backwards out there. Golf courses like this, playing soft, the five par 5s, I think this week you’re going to have been quite a bit into the 20-unders.”
For Tiger Woods, the story was much different. The No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking still showed a considerable amount of rust on his game, making two birdies and one bogey to stand 1 under through 10 holes, tied for 50th. Woods was short of the green in two shots on the par-5 11th hole when he called it a day.
Olesen, an early co-leader, called the course “very soft and very attackable.”
“It’s nice to shoot 6 under,” he said of his eight-birdie, two-bogey start. “It’s been a while since I’ve been down there, and hopefully I can keep it going.”
The forecast for Friday is sunny and breezy, with the temperature expected to top 80 degrees and drying out a golf course that received 2-plus inches of rain overnight.