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England’s Lee Westwood shot an eight-under-par 64 on the first day of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Open, but that was only good enough for second place, three shots behind leader Jaco van Zyl.

South Africa’s Van Zyl posted a remarkable 11-under 61 in a round that included nine birdies and an eagle.

Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy is sitting pretty tied for fourth after he shot an impressive 67 on Thursday at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, Turkey. 

Here’s how the leaderboard looks after Day 1 of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Open:

2015 Turkish Airlines Open: Thursday Leaderboard
Pos Player To Par Thursday’s Score
1 Jaco Van Zyl -11 61
2 Lee Westwood -8 64
3 Chris Wood -6 66
T4 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -5 67
T4 Richard Bland -5 67
T4 Rafael Cabrera-Bello -5 67
T4 Rory McIlroy -5 67
T4 Julien Quesne -5 67
T4 Bernd Wiesberger -5 67
T4 Fabrizio Zanotti -5 67

European Tour

The full leaderboard can be accessed by visiting the European Tour’s official website.

 

Recap


Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Westwood would undoubtedly have thought before his round that a 64 would see him top the leaderboard, but that would not have reckoned for Van Zyl.

The 36-year-old tore up the course playing his first-ever round at the Turkish Airlines Open. It was a good day for low-scoring, and Van Zyl took full advantage.

He birdied the par-five first to set the tone and went out in 31 after picking up three more shots on four, five and seven.

Things only got better as he eagled the 11th, the European Tour then sharing his exploits as he went eight-under par after 15:

Back-to-back birdies on the final two holes took him to 11-under and earned him a three-shot lead overnight.

Westwood is currently Van Zyl’s closest challenger and will no doubt be ready to pounce on Friday after a bogey-less opening round.

The former world No. 1 looked in scintillating form as he picked up a birdie on the 10th—his first hole—before carding four in a row from the 14th to reach the turn at five-under par.

Another three in a row from the second saw him move to eight-under, but it could have been even better if his immense approach at four had gone down for an albatross, per the European Tour:

Westwood’s compatriot, Chris Wood, sits two shots further back at six-under. Five bogeys and a birdie saw him reach the turn at four-under, and he picked up his other two shots thanks to an eagle at four.

McIlroy was another player not to card a bogey in his round, and it was the front nine where the world No. 3 really made hay.

Starting on the 10th, the 26-year-old chipped in on 11 for birdie. After the turn, he then picked up four shots in seven holes, his birdies on three and seven coming courtesy of some excellent putting.

He is a long way off the lead and may now be ruing the shots he left out on the course, per Sport360’s Joy Chakravarty:

But he is still very much in touch as Van Zyl cannot be expected to produce the same level of quality again over the next three days.

Ian Poulter finished with a 69, but he will be regretting his error on the par-three fifth which saw him go into the water. He could eventually only salvage a triple-bogey six, an unpleasant blot on a decent looking card.

Graeme McDowell finished two-under par, but he will also be kicking himself after he let a shot go on his last hole with an unnecessary three-putt.

The quality on show in Turkey is quite immense, and Van Zyl has set a high bar after one round. With all the players set to stay past Friday for the weekend’s action—there is no cut—it should be an enthralling few days of competition.



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