Jaco storms ahead in Turkey

From The European Tour

Turkish Airlines Open - Day OneJaco van Zyl carded a stunning opening 61 to take a three shot lead at the Turkish Airlines Open as The Final Series got under way in Antalya.

The Montgomerie Maxx Royal was hosting the first of the four closing tournaments of The Race to Dubai and Van Zyl bettered the low round record of 62 held by Raphaƫl Jacquelin, although his achievement will not go in the record books as preferred lies were in play due to recent heavy rain.

The South African recorded nine birdies and an eagle to open up an advantage over Lee Westwood who carded eight birdies of his own to sit alone in second.

Chris Wood was then at six under with Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy in the group a further shot back.

Van Zyl opened with a birdie and picked up further shots on the fourth, fifth and seventh before coming home in 30. The 36 year old eagled the 11th and then made birdies on five of his final six holes to take control after round one.

He has recorded four top tens this year but has yet to claim a European Tour title and was delightedf to shoot what he described as one of the best rounds of his life.

“I played really nicely and honestly I thought four under par around here was a good score,” he said. I got it going early in the round and just kept it going. It was really good fun.”

“Obviously starting out on The European Tour a couple of years ago, you always wonder if you belong. Working your way up and being a part of one of these events, it’s really good.”

He added: “I’ve been hitting it really nicely for months now. Been really struggling on the short game, putting in particular. I put a little bit more effort and time into it this week, and I think I’ve found the one.”

Westwood had looked like he was going to be the man to catch as he birdied the tenth and then recorded four consecutive gains from the 14th.

Pars followed on the par five 18th and first before three more gains in a row got him to eight under and a two shot lead before Van Zyl’s spectacular finish.

Wood turned in 33 and then a long putt on the fourth handed him an eagle before he parred his way home.

McIlroy was then in the group at five under after a bogey free effort as he aims to finish as Europe’s Number One for a third time.

The Northern Irishman got off to a solid start with a chip in on the 11th for birdie to get him to one under.

Seven pars in a row then followed to turn in 36 but the 26 year old required a brilliant save on the 18th. His drive was well left and ended up by a tree with the World Number Three playing out left handed before putting his third shot just short of the green. His chip then ended up ten feet short but a nerveless putt avoided a bogey.

Birdies on the first, third, fourth and seventh followed to complete a tidy 67.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, searching for a third win of the season, was also six shots off the lead alongside Richard Bland, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Julien Quesne, Bernd Wiesberger and Fabrizio Zanotti.

Lucas Bjerregaard, who has four top tens in his last six starts, signed for a 68 alongside Shane Lowry who finished bogey-bogey to slip back after an excellent opening 16 holes.

Thomas Aiken, Jacquelin, Lee Slattery and Peter Uihlein were also on four under in a congested chasing pack.

Danny Willett, McIlroy’s nearest challenger in the Race to Dubai, signed for a 69 to sit in a large group at three under which contained 11 players.

Ian Poulter was in that group with a damaging triple bogey on the par three fifth while Tyrrell Hatton recorded an eagle, six birdies, three bogeys and a closing double in his remarkable round.

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