Three share lead at suspended Turkish Airlines Open
Antalya, Turkey (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Casey and Darren Fichardt highlight a group of three players tied for the lead at 7-under at the suspended Turkish Airlines Open.
The start of the first round at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal was delayed three hours due to lightning and flooding on the course, leading to an eventual suspension for darkness.
The first round is scheduled to get back underway at 1:00 a.m. ET Friday, with the second round scheduled to begin at 3:05 a.m.
Casey and Fichardt, who each have a victory on the European Tour this season, were both through 14 holes when play was halted. They were joined by Steve Webster atop the leaderboard. Webster completed 12 holes before the suspension.
Ricardo Gonzalez and Thorbjorn Olesen were two of just 15 players to complete their rounds on Thursday and set the clubhouse mark at 6-under 66.
Also at 6-under while still on the course were Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Ricardo Santos, George Coetzee, Peter Uihlein, Thomas Bjorn and Justin Walters.
Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson was among a group of players tied for 18th place at 4-under.
Tiger Woods, who is playing his first stroke-play event since the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September, was playing alongside Stenson and was 1-under through 10 holes.
Casey raced out of the gate with an eagle at the first, and followed that with a birdie at the second. He traded a birdie at the fourth with a bogey at the fifth to remain at 3-under.
The Irish Open winner then reeled off four birdies in a five-hole span from the ninth to reach 7-under and race to the top of the leaderboard. He parred the 14th to remain there before play was halted for the day.
"I really thought you've got to get off to a quick one with the two very, very reachable par fives in the first four holes and I did exactly that by knocking a driver and 3-wood to the first and holing it for eagle," said Casey. "It was foot flat to the floor today and just fire at the pins, take advantage of the soft conditions we've got and see what happens."
Fichardt, who won the Africa Open, started on the back nine and followed an opening par with three straight birdies. He added a pair of gains from the 15th to make the turn at 5-under.
He later poured in back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth to claim his piece of the lead. He then parred the fifth, his final hole of the day.
Webster also played bogey-free golf through his 12 holes, notching seven birdies to grab his share of the lead.
Gonzalez and Olesen each had two bogeys in their rounds, but Olesen countered his mistakes with eight birdies, while Gonzalez had an eagle and six birdies.
NOTES: This is the first time the European Tour has played in Turkey ... Round two tees and tee times will be the same as in the first round draw ... Stenson currently leads Graeme McDowell by 145,865 euros in the Race to Dubai. McDowell is not in the field this week ... The top 60 players on the Race to Dubai at the end of this event qualify for the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai next week.