DAVID DRYSDALE overcame a bout of frustration caused by golf’s slow coaches to sit as leading Scot after the first round of the £4.6 million Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.
The 40-year-old from Cockburnspath, who was the last man to get into the field, carded a three-under-par 69 in one of the final groups on a low-scoring day at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course.
It left him two shots ahead of Stephen Gallacher and four in front of Richie Ramsay while Marc Warren, the other Scot in the line-up, was sitting last of the 78 players after a 79.
“It was frustrating day out there as it was really slow,” said Drysdale. “It was pretty close to five-and-a-half hours and the front nine in particular was really slow.
“We were waiting for five minutes on every shot and I lost my concentration, hitting two poor shots that led to bogeys at the seventh and eighth.”
In fairness, he recovered well from that double setback by coming home in four-under 33 thanks to birdies at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 17th.
“I’d have taken that at the start,” added Drysdale, who was unable to play a full practice round after being elevated from first reserve following the withdrawal of Englishman Eddie Pepperell.
“It’s an ok first round but I’m eight behind,” he added of South African Jaco Van Zyl having set a red-hot pace with his 11-under-par 61 to sit two shots clear of England’s Lee Westwood.
Gallacher, sitting 60th in the Race to Dubai and needing to at least maintain that position to make the season-ending Tour Championship, had a frustrating day on the greens.
“I left about five shots out there,” said the Bathgate man. “I was one-over for the five par-5s, three-putting two of them after being in good positions on the fairway.”
Morningside-based Ramsay was making his return after being sidelined for five weeks with a serious eye infection.
“It was a wee bit scary at the start,” he said of a problem that isn’t totally cleared up, “but I was fine after a few holes and didn’t feel I had problems lining putts up.”