European Tour

Fichardt in three-way tie lead

2013-11-08 12:04
Darren Fichardt (AFP)

Belek - South African Darren Fichardt is in a three-way tie for the lead at the rain-affected Turkish Airlines Open after the first round was completed on Friday.

European money-list leader Henrik Stenson and Dane Thomas Bjorn joined Fichardt at the top while Tiger Woods was six shots off the pace.

Swede Stenson took up where he left off when darkness set in at 6.42pm on Thursday, birdying the par-five 11th on the resumption after torrential rain and thunderstorms had caused a three-hour interruption a day earlier.

He then made further inroads on par at the 13th, 17th and 18th to sign for an eight-under 64 under blue skies and a freshening breeze at the $7 million European Tour event.

Playing partner Woods also birdied the 11th, lofting a 20-yard wedge over a greenside bunker to four feet and knocking in his putt for a confidence-boosting birdie.

Woods picked up another stroke at the 13th but then dunked his second into water at the last and a bogey six there soured his mood with just 45 minutes to go before he was back on the first tee for the start of the second round.

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, playing alongside Woods and Stenson, also went round in 70.

Stenson, who scooped an $11.4 million jackpot for landing the season-ending U.S. Tour Championship in Atlanta and the FedExCup playoff series, is looking to make it a trans-Atlantic double next weekend.

A strong performance here and in the season-finale in Dubai next week will see him crowned Europe's golfer of the year for the first time in his career.

“I was in a good position when they called it off last night and I carried it on today with a couple of nice birdies,” said Stenson.

“The wrist still isn't in great shape,” he said of an injury that has troubled him in recent weeks, “and it's a case of taking it one day at a time and one shot at a time.”

Ian Poulter, who opened with a 66 and is $725,000 adrift of Stenson in fourth spot in the money list, has a $100 bet with the Swede at odds of 10-1 that the Briton can overtake him by the time the curtain comes down on the season in Dubai.

“I knew Ian was playing alright because he had a white towel around his arm to show me how I would be looking when I'm pouring his drinks,” said Stenson with a smile.

Leading scores after the delayed completion of the first round of the Turkish Open at the Maxx Royal Course (par-72) in Belek on Friday:

64 - Henrik Stenson (SWE), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Darren Fichardt (RSA)

65 - Steve Webster (ENG)

66 - George Coetzee (RSA), Paul Casey (ENG), Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Ian Poulter (ENG), Kiradeck Aphibarnrat (THA), Justin Walters (RSA), Maximilian Kieffer (GER)

67 - Rafa Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Raphael Jacquelin (FRA), Victor Dubuisson (FRA), Peter Uhlein (USA) Alejandro Canizares (ESP), Marcus Fraser (AUS), Robert-Jan Derksen (NED), Julien Quesne (FRA)

Selected others

68 - Padraig Harrington (IRL), Charl Schwartzel (RSA)

70 - Tiger Woods (USA), Justin Rose (ENG), Lee Westwood (ENG)

72 - Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)


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