Turkish Airlines Open: Paul Casey, Darren Fichardt and Steve Webster share early lead

Last Updated: 07/11/13 4:55pm

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Some of Europe's top players explain how special it is to finish the season as European number 1.

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Tiger Woods failed to cash in as the opening round of the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya turned into a birdie-fest.

Overnight thunderstorms and torrential morning rain meant the start was delayed by three hours and the soft greens and lack of wind at the par 72 Montgomerie Maxx Royal meant scoring conditions were ideal.

First round leaderboard

GB & Ire unless stated

-7 P Casey (14 holes)
-7 D Fichardt (SA) (14)
-7 S Webster (12)
-6 R Gonzalez (Arg)
-6 T Olesen (Den)
-6 R Cabrera-Bello (Spn) (16)
-6 R Santos (Por) (15)
-6 G Coetzee (SA) 15)
-6 P Uihlein (US) (12)
-6 T Bjorn (Den) (12)
-6 J Walters (SA) (11)

But while three players - Englishmen Paul Casey and Steve Webster along with South African Darren Fichardt all ended the day tied for the lead on seven-under - Woods could only shoot one-under in the 10 holes he managed before darkness fell.

That left the world number one down in a tie for 50th in the elite 78-man field contesting the penultimate event of the four-tournament Finals Series.

Race To Dubai leader Henrik Stenson fared better as he carded five birdies and a bogey in an outward 31 to sit on four-under after 10 but Justin Rose, despite two opening birdies, also failed to make hay and ended alongside Tiger at -1.

Woods made the ideal start by flipping a wedge to four feet at the par five opening hole and rolling in the putt for a birdie four.

Narrow escape

After pars at two and three, he escaped with another after narrowly avoiding the water at the fourth - Rose did get wet and made bogey - before adding another three to stay at one-under after seven.

The 14-time major winner got the ball rolling again with a birdie two at the eighth but failed to get up and down at the ninth after coming up short with his approach and fell back to one-under. Woods added a par at 10 but failed to complete the 11th after the darkness quickly closed in.

Rose followed his bogey at four with another at five but birdied six before reeling off four straight pars. Stenson's only dropped shot came at two as he birdied one, three, four, seven and nine to make his move up the field.

Lee Westwood also finished the day at four-under after 11, one in front of playing partner Ian Poulter.

As for the leaders, Casey (who birdied his first four holes), and Fichardt still have four holes still to complete while fellow pacesetter Webster has six.

"I really thought you've got to get off to a quick one and I did exactly that," said Casey.

"It was foot flat to the floor today and just fire at the pins, take advantage of the soft conditions and see what happens."

In a bunched field, eight players share fourth spot - Ricardo Gonzalez, Thorbjorn Olesen, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Ricardo Santos, George Coetzee, Peter Uihlein, Thomas Bjorn and Justin Walters.

Gonzalez and Olesen were two of just 15 players to complete 18 holes as they set the clubhouse target of six-under 66.

The first round will resume on Friday at 8am local time while round two tee-times will be the same as in the original first round draw.

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