Westwood trails Van Zyl by three at Turkish Airlines


There were plenty of low scores during the opening round of the Turkish Airlines Open, but none lower than the card turned in by Jaco Van Zyl. Here's how things stand after one round in Antalya, where the unheralded South African holds a three-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Jaco Van Zyl (-11), Lee Westwood (-8), Chris Wood (-6), Bernd Wiesberger (-6), Rory McIlroy (-5), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-5), Fabrizio Zanotti (-5), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-5)

What it means: McIlroy headlines this week's field, and he got off to a solid start but was lapped by Van Zyl, who caught fire down the back nine. The 36-year-old has won 13 times in his native South Africa but never on the European Tour, and he will have to keep several big names at bay - notably Westwood, who is looking for his first win on the European Tour since the 2014 Malaysian Open.

Round of the day: Van Zyl was nearly flawless during his opener, an 11-under 61 that was three shots lower than his previous best on the European Tour. He opened with four birdies across his first seven holes, then eagled the par-5 11th and closed with five more birdies on Nos. 13-18 to pull away from Westwood.

Best of the rest: Westwood fired a 64 despite an inability to take advantage of the quintet of par 5s at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, as he made birdie only once. But the Englishman made up ground elsewhere, with four straight birdies on Nos. 14-17 and three more circles on Nos. 2-4 during his inward half.

Biggest disappointment: Matthew Fitzpatrick has been one of the hottest players in Europe in recent weeks, but the Englishman got off to a slow start with a 1-over 73 in Turkey. Fitzpatrick managed only two birdies, and he now sits 12 shots off the pace in a tie for 62nd among the 78-man field.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Van Zyl's hot start and Westwood's resurgence are both worth noting, but the main player to watch is still McIlroy. The Ulsterman barely broke a sweat during his opener, and if his balky putter were to heat up, he will surely be in the mix heading into the weekend and could contend for his first worldwide title since May.

Quote of the day: "I feel like a lot of the things I've seen in practice, I started to see on the course today." - McIlroy