Tom Lewis and Matthias Schwab share a one shot lead going into round two of the Turkish Airlines Open after a low scoring opening day at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal.
Perfect conditions greeted the leading players on the 2019 Race to Dubai as they gathered in Antalya for the sixth Rolex Series event of the season, and it was Lewis and Schwab who took best advantage, carding rounds of 65 to get to seven under par.
Austrian Schwab has nine top tens so far this season, including two top fives in his last three events at the Italian Open – his best finish in a Rolex Series event – and on his debut at the WGC-HSBC Champions last week.
Lewis’ two European Tour wins have both come at the Portugal Masters and the Englishman birdied six of his last seven holes to rocket up the leaderboard.
The leaders have an elite chasing pack behind them, with Ryder Cup stars Alex Noren of Sweden and Belgian Thomas Pieters just a shot further back at six under par, alongside two-time European Tour winner David Lipsky of the United States.
Two time defending champion Justin Rose finished with three birdies to sit at five under par alongside fellow Englishman and double Rolex Series tournament winner Danny Willett, Belgian Thomas Detry, Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Dutchman Joost Luiten.
“It was a very good round for me. I got off to a nice start, five under through eight and managed to keep the momentum going on the back nine. I was hitting it nicely today and made a few putts, so overall it was a good day for me.
“I’m just trying to give it my best. Every time I tee it up, it seems to be working well the last few months, but I have no recipe.”
“I just holed the putts. I felt like I wasn’t comfortably rolling it on the front nine, even though I hit some good shots. On the back nine I continued to hit good shots, and I felt more confident on putts.
“That’s going to be the difference this week between the guy that wins and the guys that don’t. I think he’s going to get good breaks, he’s going to roll it well.”
“I hit it well off the tee, especially after hole three, four onwards, I played really well. I got a lot out of my driver, which helped on the back nine, and especially on the two par fives. Just felt like an easier round than a lot of other rounds this year.
“The focus is there, definitely, and I think my game has gotten a lot better the last few months. I’m just trying to kind of put all the parts of the game together, which I did today.”
“It felt lovely. After two weeks off, it’s nice to start like that, holing the bunker shot on the first. I was really striking it well with the irons, maybe not as good off the tee, but my putter bailed me out a couple times for par as well.
“All in all, very pleased. The game is in good shape. Putting well, hitting my irons very well. So maybe some work on the driving and we’ll be good.”
“It’s the lowest round I’ve shot in a while and to go out there and play as solidly as I did gives me a lot of confidence going forward.
“The season has been up-and-down. I played really well in spots. Played really poorly in spots. I missed five, six, seven cuts in a row or something like that. It’s been up-and-down but I feel like the game’s turning around and getting a bit of consistency back and look forward to the last three events.”
“I guess job done. The hot finish was exactly what we needed. I was aware of the leaderboard. Obviously, it was a perfect day to play golf as it normally is here in Turkey and I could see the lads got in low.
“Our group was having some frustrations, just trying to make the birdies, certainly make the putts. As the sun got low, you could kind of see what you’re facing and it’s difficult to trust your reads coming in. I managed to wiggle in there the last few holes, so delighted with the score, really, more than anything.”
Round one scores:
65 T Lewis (Eng), M Schwab (Aut),
66 A Noren (Swe), D Lipsky (USA), T Pieters (Bel),
67 J Rose (Eng), T Detry (Bel), B Hebert (Fra), D Willett (Eng), S Jamieson (Sco), J Luiten (Ned),
68 M Southgate (Eng), T Hatton (Eng), J Campillo (Esp), A Pavan (Ita), E Molinari (Ita), R Ramsay (Sco), V Perez (Fra), J Hansen (Den), J Scrivener (Aus), A Rai (Eng),
69 R Fisher (Eng), A Otaegui (Esp), J Harding (RSA), F Zanotti (Par), K Kitayama (USA), S Hend (Aus),
70 H Tanihara (Jpn), R Sterne (RSA), M Kinhult (Swe), N Bertasio (Ita), R Langasque (Fra), P Waring (Eng), E Van Rooyen (RSA), M Kaymer (Ger), E Pepperell (Eng),
71 S Crocker (USA), L Bjerregaard (Den), N Colsaerts (Bel), G Coetzee (RSA), N Elvira (Esp), L Westwood (Eng), R Macintyre (Sco), P Reed (USA), F Molinari (Ita), B Wiesberger (Aut), K Samooja (Fin), C Bezuidenhout (RSA), O Wilson (Eng), S Sharma (Ind), J Smith (Eng),
72 W Ormsby (Aus), S Soderberg (Swe), D Drysdale (Sco), G Migliozzi (Ita), P Larrazábal (Esp), S Lowry (Irl), K Aphibarnrat (Tha), T Yamac (am) (Tur),
73 Z Lombard (RSA), C Pan (Tpe), H Li (Chn), G Green (Mas), C Paisley (Eng), J Lagergren (Swe), R Fox (Nzl), R Paratore (Ita),
74 M Wallace (Eng), S Brown (Eng), S Horsfield (Eng),
75 P Harrington (Irl), M Kawamura (Jpn), J Walters (RSA), A Arnaus (Esp),
76 A Quiros (Esp)