Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
Nicolas Colsaerts, Haydn Porteous and Joost Luiten shared the lead at seven under par after a stunning opening day at the Turkish Airlines Open at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort.
South African Porteous, winner of this year’s Czech Masters, was in the first group to start on Thursday and made five birdies in his first seven holes on the way to a bogey-free 64.
Dutchman Luiten did not drop a shot all day and picked up his final birdie of the day with an impressive putt from off the green on the 16th.
Luiten believes that putting will be crucial in deciding who wins the fifth Turkish Airlines Open, which is the third last tournament on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
He said: “There's not a lot of rough, so it's a lot on the greens this week. I was struggling a little bit, so I tried to put in some work in the early part of the week, and it's good to see that it pays out.
“I knew I was playing well but it's nice to see some results, as well, coming your way. Hopefully I can keep the same feeling coming down these last three tournaments here.”
Argentian Andres Romero and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington were a shot further back at six under par, while Thai player Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Englishmen Ian Poulter and Eddie Pepperell were in the group of players at five under.
Poulter finished second at the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 and enjoys playing in Turkey.
“I can remember the six-footer that I missed to get in the play-off with (2014 champion) Brooks (Koepka), and that was a little bit frustrating,” Poulter said. “I felt I should have taken a few more opportunities that day to finish that one off.
“I'm comfortable at the back end of the year. I've had quite a bit of success in a number of tournaments late in the season, and hopefully I can continue that.”
Former world number one Lee Westwood and in-form Englishman Tyrrell Hatton were in a share of 10th place at four under with Justin Rose starting the week with a two-under-par round of 69.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood and Martin Kaymer are tied for 42nd place following level par rounds of 71 and Henrik Stenson shot two over par.