South Africa’s George Coetzee wasn’t an official part of the Race to Dubai Top 60 but you’d never know it by the way he played the first round at the Turkish Open.
Coetzee was hot out of the gates, hitting the turn at 4-under and adding four more birdies between No. 10 and No. 16 before bogeying 17. Coetzee is ranked 160th in the world and finished 85th in the Race to Dubai standings this year.
“I’ve been missing a lot of cuts, I was really lucky to get into this event this week and I’m just trying to make the most of it,” he said.
“I’ve actually been playing better the last three or four weeks. The swing started to click a couple of weeks ago and I started shooting better scores and hitting better shots and it was just a question of putting everything together.
He’s a stroke ahead of Norway’s Thorbjorn Olesen (-6) who is ranked 92nd n the world and 38th in the Dubai standings. Olesen played a bogey-free round, and birdied four holes between No. 11 and No. 18.
The first round was a struggle for the Race to Dubai’s top 10. Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, who finished second in the regular season Race to Dubai, is tied for 21st at 2-under. Lee Westwood, ranked No. 10 in the Dubai standings, is tied for 30th.