Thunder delays Woods progress in Turkey
World number one Tiger Woods could manage to hit just two fairways on the opening day of the weather-affected Turkish Open in Belek on Thursday.
An early morning thunderstorm resulted in a three hour delay in play and when poor light halted play near 5pm local time (15:00GMT) only 15 players in the 78-player elite field had managed to complete their round in the $7m event.
Woods struggled with the driver managing to hit just two fairway at the 10th and 11th holes and minutes before poor light halted play in the $7m penultimate European Tour event of the season.
A morning thunderstorm meant play did not commence until 12.05 pm local time but with only 15 players in the elite 78 player field managing to complete their round.
The 14-time Major winning Woods was lying at one under par after 10 holes and six shots behind three players leading on seven under par and who too had not completed their first round.
The three are the South African Darren Fichardt, who had both played 14 holes, along the England pair of Paul Casey and Steve Webster, who had played 14 and 12 holes respectively.
The clubhouse leader is the pair of Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen who shot rounds of six under par 66s.
Woods commenced only his second regular European Tour event this year by holing a four-foot putt for birdie.
He went to two under par with a birdie at the par three, eighth hole but after missing the fairway at the next, the par four ninth hole he took bogey to fall back to one-under par.
Woods had just driven off the par five, 11th hole in the company of current European No.1 Henrik Stenson and fellow US Open champion, Justin Rose when the siren sounded and giving the players the option to complete the hole they were playing.
But after Rose was forced to play a provisional ball off the tee the light deteriorated and Woods elected to mark to his ball after playing his second shot. He did so by sticking a white tee peg in the ground from where he will resume his round at 8am local time Friday.
"I thought when we teed off we would be lucky to get in 11 holes and I was pretty spot on," said Woods.
"So we got in about the right number of holes as it just gets dark so quickly and it’s like someone just turned off the light switch.
"The air now also is heavy with moisture so the ball is not going very far compared to when we were warming up on the range and early in the round.
"But towards the end we were hitting about a half-a-club short.
"I’m still working on getting a bit of the rust out of my game but then tomorrow is going to be a long day for all of us."
When Woods was in Turkey last year for the Turkish Airlines Invitational he competed on the nearby Antalya course whereas this year’s event is on the Colin Montgomerie designed Maxx Royal layout.
And while Montgomerie struggled to be at par after 16 holes, Woods was very complimentary of the former victorious European Ryder Cup captain’s design work.
"It’s a tricky golf course and it helps to have played it numerous times as it one of those courses where you get a better feel for it the more you play it," said Woods.
"But overall Colin’s done a good job in designing the course.
"However looking back on my 10 and a half holes, I probably left a little out there and I see that seven under par is leading at this stage so the goal in the holes I have left in the morning is to pick up a few quick birdies."