Rolex Series experts star in Turkey

Justin Rose finished with three birdies to catapult himself up the leaderboard as he looks for a third consecutive victory at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Justin Rose

The Englishman is one of four players in the field this week looking to equal Jon Rahm's record of three Rolex series victories and Alex Noren and Danny Willett were also in the top ten after 18 holes at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal.

Rose was not at his brilliant best as he scrambled for 15 holes, although a chip-in for eagle at the 11th produced one of the highlights of the day.

But the shot of the day came at the 17th as he got from trouble to three feet for the second of three closing gains that moved him just two off the lead.

"I'm happy," he said. "Good score today, something I can build on. I'll give the game six out of ten today and 67 is a better score than six out of ten so I feel like I've done a good day's work.

"Birdied the last three holes to make what was an okay day into a good day.

Alex Noren

"I played really poorly in the pro-am yesterday and was fighting the game a little bit. Just trying to simplify things today and did a good job of that. I flipped the switch today and played golf today rather than golf swing."

Noren was one shot better off after a bogey free 66 as the Swede looks for a first top ten on the 2019 Race to Dubai.

"I haven't played good enough so I need a few more points to get closer to the top," he said.

"I think my game has gotten a lot better the last few months. I'm just trying to kind of put all the parts of the game together, which I did today.

"It was all around good today. From four onwards, I played maybe the best I've played this year so I'm really happy with the start.

Danny Willett

"I got a lot out of my driver, which helped on the back, and especially on two par fives and then the par four where you can reach it.

"It just felt like an easier round than a lot of other rounds this year."

Willett was also bogey free and he was alongside Rose as he looks for a second Rolex Series win of the year following victory at the BMW PGA Championship.

"It was all right." said the Englishman. "A couple of scrappy ones in there - I played really clever golf, I would have said.

"A couple of nice shots in there, a couple of dodgy ones, all in all we never really got ourselves in too much trouble. We gave ourselves a look at birdie but a really solid day."

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