Former world No. 3 Paul Casey was among a trio of players sharing the lead and Tiger Woods trailed six shots off the pace when darkness fell in the rain-hit Turkish Airlines Open first round on Thursday.
Only 15 players completed their rounds after torrential rain and thunderstorms had caused a three-hour delay to the start of the inaugural US$7 million European Tour event being played on the Mediterranean coast of Antalya.
The bad weather saturated the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course and made good scoring easy for the 78-man field, with only nine competitors over par.
Casey was seven-under through 14 holes when the players were called back to the clubhouse, the same mark as fellow Briton Steve Webster (12 holes) and South African Darren Fichardt (14).
Woods is playing in his first strokeplay event for six weeks and showed signs of rustiness as he finished one-under through 10 holes.
The 14-times major champion found just two fairways all day.
“I thought when we teed off that we would be lucky to get in 11 holes and I was pretty spot on,” Woods told reporters. “It just gets dark so quickly and it’s like someone just turned off the light switch.”
“The air is also heavy now with moisture so the ball is not going very far compared to when we were warming up on the range and early in the round. Towards the end we were hitting about a half-a-club short,” Woods said.
“I’m still working on getting a bit of the rust out of my game but then tomorrow is going to be a long day for all of us,” he said.
The players were granted preferred lies due to the soaked conditions and Casey made a fast start with an eagle three at the first followed by birdies at the second and fourth.
He dropped a stroke at the fifth before producing another inspired run of four birdies in five holes from the ninth.