Trio top congested leaderboard in Turkey

European Tour

Nicolas Colsaerts, Joost Luiten and Haydn Porteous are the early leaders in a tightly-packed Turkish Airlines Open leaderboard after Thursday's first round.

The trio all opened with seven-under-par 64s to lead Argentina's Andres Romero and Irish veteran Padraig Harrington by one stroke at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya.

Four more players follow a further shot back – English duo Ian Poulter and Eddie Pepperell, Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Meanwhile, the likes of Lee Westwood and Tyrrell Hatton find themselves just three shots back, suggesting the race for the title in Turkey has only just begun.

Beautiful sunshine and calm conditions greeted the field on Thursday and the players took full advantage.

Belgium's Colsaerts, Dutchman Luiten and South African Porteous made the most of the receptive conditions to each compile seven-under-par 64.

Porteous – already a winner this season at the D D REAL Czech Masters – produced a bogey-free effort that included birdies at the third, eighth, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th.

Colsaerts' round featured five birdies, a bogey and an eagle at the par-5 12th.

Luiten also went bogey-free, with four birdies prior to the turn and three more after to leave himself in the pound seat.

Second-placed Harrington produced a six-birdie, bogey-free round to find himself right in the hunt, making the most of his tournament invite.

"If I drive it well, I can score. I drove it well," said the Irishman. "I gave myself lots of chances. Just kept it nicely in play all day. 

"They have toughened up the course a little bit. They are using the back tee on number ten this year where they didn't use it last year. I don't think the scoring is as good as last year. I know there's six and seven under pars but you start looking down further, three under is a pretty decent return for today. 

"The greens are beautiful. If you're hitting good shots you can hole a lot of putts out there. They are a very nice pace. They are not quick so you'll feel confident over every putt. There's nothing slipping away from you."

Further down the field, Justin Rose had to settle for a two-under 69, while Henrik Stenson had a day to forget with a two-over 73. Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood carded a level-par 71.

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