George Coetzee found the groove at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on Thursday and shot 64 to lead round one of the Turkish Airlines Open.
The 30-year-old claimed his third European Tour victory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open last year, but hasn’t lifted a trophy in 2016.
Last week he tied for 40th place at the WGC-HSBC Champions, a result which included a Saturday round of 68 at Sheshan International Golf Club.
He currently ranks 85th in the Race to Dubai and needs a good week to secure his place at the upcoming Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Dubai Final.
Coetzee began his Thursday round on the 11th hole and added birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th before dropping a lone shot of the day at the 17th.
He sauntered into the second loop with birdies at the first and third holes, then added a further three red figures, including a birdie at the 10th, to sign for seven under par.
Coetzee was one stroke clear of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and two clear of Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Pablo Larrazabal.
Justin Walters joined a 12-way tie for 10th place with a round of 68, which gave the former Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year a shot at playing at Gary Player Country Club next week. He’ll need three more solid rounds to make it happen.
Further down the leaderboard was Darren Fichardt in a share of 34th, followed by Richard Sterne, Thomas Aiken and Haydn Porteous in a tie for 46th place.
Brandon Stone was tied for 65th, Jaco van Zyl for 75th.
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