Shubhankar Sharma T-32 after round one in Turkey

Shubhankar Sharma, two-over after five holes with a wayward shot and a three-putt from 15 feet, recovered very well around the turn with three birdies in four holes.

Shubhankar Sharma, playing his sixth week on the trot, had four birdies between seventh and 13th and three bogeys on first, fifth and 18th. (File Photo)   -  Getty Images

Shubhankar Sharma, who is leading the race to become the European Tour’s Rookie of the Year, opened with a modest one-under 70 to be placed T-32 after the first round of the Turkish Airlines Open, here, on Thursday.

Sharma, two-over after five holes with a wayward shot and a three-putt from 15 feet, recovered very well around the turn with three birdies in four holes. Just as he seemed set to finish at two-under, he left a chip too short on the 18th to drop a shot to finish at one-under 70.

Sharma, playing his sixth week on the trot, had four birdies between seventh and 13th and three bogeys on first, fifth and 18th.

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At the top of the leaderboard, defending champion and FedExCup champion, Justin Rose took a big step in reclaiming the World No. 1 position with a flawless six-under 65 that had an eagle and four birdies.

He was Tied-second with Padraig Harrington, who he had said would make a fine Ryder Cup captain for Europe in 2020, and Thorbjorn Olesen, who was in Rose’s group.

Young Irishman Paul Dunne, winner of the 2017 British Masters was at the top with a bogey-free seven-under 64 that began from the back nine that starts from 11th at the Regnum Carya. Tommy Fleetwood, who was Race to Dubai winner in 2017, started with a 68 that had a bogey on 18th.

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Sharma, leading the race to become the Harry Cotton Rookie of the Year, said, “I gave away two silly bogeys early. I got one back on seventh as I was steady and played well thereafter especially between 10th and 12th where I had three birdies. The last hole bogey was a disappointment and left a bitter taste, as I hit a poor chip and missed the longish par putt.”

But, he felt that he had hit the ball well and loved the course. “This course is excellent and very beautiful. The weather was fine and I just missed out a couple of shots there with errors, but it is just the first day. The greens were much faster than on practice days and after a few holes I had adjusted.”

The top Asian in the field was Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who was six-under and then dropped a shot on 18th to fall to 66. Kiradech admitted that it was an interesting day with seven birdies and two bogeys.

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Irishman Dunne set the tone in the morning with a brilliant bogey-free 64 to set the clubhouse target and it stood for the rest of the day despite some challenges from his own countryman Padraig Harrington, who finally finished six-under 65.

Eight players including Kiradech were at five-under in T-5th and the bunch included Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, and two Chinese stars Wu Ashun and Li Haotong. Nine players including 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett shot four-under 68 to be T-12.

It was a low-scoring day as 11 players shot five-under or better and another eight were four-under as the course at Regnum Carya yielded good scorers on firm and fast greens in ideal sunny conditions.