Defending champion Justin Rose continued his incredible run of form with a bogey-free 65 that left him just a shot off the lead after day one of the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Englishman has finished in the top ten at five of his last six European Tour events as part of a run that has seen him achieve 23 top tens in his last 30 worldwide appearances.
That included his win at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort 12 months ago that brought him his first Rolex Series victory and a repeat this week would take him back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.
After a spectacular hole-out eagle on the fourth, he added four further birdies on Thursday and while he did not think he was at his best, he was pleased to be in contention once again.
“I didn't drive it particularly well today but my iron play was good,” he said.
“I holed out on number four which got things going and made a birdie off the back of that and so three under through five, I felt like I was up and running. That was a nice stroke of fortune I guess and really started the day nicely.
“I never had to press anything in my round. Had a little frustrating period around 11, 12, 13, 14, where I had chances that slipped by. I knew I was getting frustrated at that point in the round and tried to see if I could grab a couple of birdies coming in which I did and nice to sign off with a nice three at the last.”
Playing partner Thorbjørn Olesen also carded a 65 with six birdies complemented by some excellent par saves.
After a shaky start on the first three holes, the 2016 champion birdied the fourth, seventh, ninth, 12th, 14th and 15th before making excellent sand saves on the 16th and last.
“I think I feel comfortable on the golf course,” said the Dane. “I know I've hit a lot of good shots on this golf course and I can sort of take that with me. I managed to hit a few today but a few bad ones too. It was just key to keep getting up and down.
“I hit some good shots and made some good birdies but it was just key not to make bogeys today. The course is very scoreable when there's no wind and the greens are pure. It was nice to have a clean card today.”
Padraig Harrington was the other player at six under as he attempts to play his way into the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai from 89th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
The three-time Major Championship winner could have gone even lower after a blistering start to his round but was happy with his day's work.
“I'm going to take it and be happy with it,” said the Irishman. “I missed a few putts coming home and had a few chances out there but any day you start off four under after five holes you might finish a little bit sour. 65 is still a good strong score and it keeps me in the tournament.
“I'm trying to push to get into Dubai at this stage and you want to start well and get yourself into a tournament and build from there. It's a lot tougher when you're hanging around the middle of the field and you're hoping to shoot a good score on the last day to push yourself up.
“Hopefully I can push on from here and keep myself in contention on Sunday. If I do that, the other things will look after themselves.”