Jaco Van Zyl’s 61 Leads Turkish Open

In a field full of luminaries, Jaco Van Zyl shined brightest of all on the first day of the Turkish Airlines Open.

Van Zyl fired a 61 to open up a 3-stroke lead, breaking the tournament record by one stroke at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal on Thursday.

The South African fired an eagle and nine birdies to hold a 3-stroke lead over Lee Westwood, who was 8-under with eight birdies.

Lurking in the weeds? Former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is part of a larger group at 5-under.

Van Zyl, who finished 51st in the regular season Race to Dubai points chase, was 4-under on the front nine, but took off on the back half, starting with an eagle 3 on the 570-yard No. 11.

He followed that with five birdies over the final six holes.

McIlroy, the overall leader in the regular season points chase with just north of 3 million, was also 4-under at the turn, added a birdie on No. 11, then parred out the rest of the way. His most memorable shot came on No. 18, when he switched grips and fired his third shot left-handed when stuck against a tree, saving par in the process.

 

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