European Tour

Jimenez leads in Turkey

2014-11-13 17:31
Miguel Angel Jimenez (AFP)

Belek -Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez has again upstaged his much younger rivals grabbing an eagle and seven birdies in a nine under par 63 to lead the first round of the Turkish Airlines Open on Thursday.

The 50-year old Jimenez had just 23 putts in ideal scoring conditions on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal Course in Belek.

Jimenez's effort was also just a shot shy of the course record and with the pony-tailed golfer ending the opening day of the $7 million event one shot clear of England's Ian Poulter.

Three players -- Australia's Wade Ormsby, England's Tyrrell Hatton and South African Brendon De Jonge -- share third place on seven under par.

Last December Jimenez broke his own 'oldest winner' European Tour record in successfully defending his Hong Kong Open title at age 49 years and 337 days.

And now in his 642nd Tour event Jimenez could break that record for a third time.

"To shoot nine-under par on this course in only the first round, it's a good start," he said.

"I was six under par after seven holes and playing very well, and you just try to enjoy yourself, and it's the way to shoot very low, still exciting and I managed to do that."

"But then I like this golf course with all the trees on it. It feels nice and you have everything, you have some long holes, you have some short holes and you have a mix. So I feel comfortable on this golf course.

"So this is a special round because I've been struggling a little bit the last few months but when you shoot under par, you feel very good."

Poulter, using a putter that he last used to finish third in the 2013 British Open, was just as thrilled with his effort after struggling in recent weeks.

However after a strong share of sixth place in last week's WGC-HSBC Champions event, and getting used to new clubs for a first time in seven years, Poulter's feeling a lot happier about his game.

"I decided to switch back to my old putter late last week that has a softer insert and it felt really good on these quick greens," he said.

"And it was kind of funny, as I holed a 40?footer for eagle on the first par 5 that was my fourth hole of the round, and just start laughing. Then on the second par 5, start laughing to my caddy. He says, "Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it."

"So the old putter is back in the bag. I also started to hit some good shots and I started to roll the putts in that I would expect to hole, and then it adds up to 8?under par.

"I'm really happy also as the new driver is working exceptionally well, so I've got a lot of confidence with that."

The Adelaide-born Ormsby, competing in Turkey for a first time in his career, ended his round with six birdies in succession and in fact played his inward nine in seven under par that included eight birdies and a 12th hole bogey.

"I've had some hot runs the last few weeks including the Perth International where I had five birdies in a row and last week in the first round when I defended my Panasonic Open title in India I had four in a row," said Ormsby.

"But I'm just pleased to be here competing in an event of this stature".

American John Daly competing on an invitation shot a three under par 67 while Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, celebrating his 600th European Tour event, signed for a four over par 76 on the course he designed.

Leading first round scores at the Turkish Airlines Open, at the par-72 Montgomerie Maxx Royal Course, Belek, Turkey, on Thursday:

63 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP)
64 - Ian Poulter (ENG)
65 - Wade Ormsby (AUS), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), Brendon De Jonge (ZIM)
67 - Oliver Fisher (ENG), Stephen Gallacher (SCO), Branden Grace (RSA), Edorado Molinari (ITA), Hennie Otto (RSA), Andy Sullivan (ENG), Marc Warren (SCO), Danny Willett (ENG)
68 - Jonas Blixt (SWE), Gregory Bourdy (FRA), Simon Dyson (ENG), Darren Fichardt (RSA), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Raphael Jacquelin (FRA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Alexander Levy (FRA)


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