Turkish Airlines Open: Three to play in the First Round Leader market
Dave Tindall looks at the opening round of the Turkish Airlines Open and has three picks to make a fast start...
"I think we're looking at a player coming right back to form and one who has a history of starting fast."
Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Weather forecast for Antalya, Turkey: It's a sunny day in Antalya (par for the course) with temps peaking at 85 degrees at midday. Winds are light at around 6mph.
Tee-times: We're getting used to this in recent weeks and now it's the European Tour's turn to condense the 78-man field into three-balls from a two-tee start. It means the first group goes out at 10.15am and the last at 12.30am. The balanced forecast suggests no advantage within that narrow time-frame.
Paisley can pick up pace early
Chris Paisley made plenty of headlines earlier in the year when following a win at the South African Open with top fives at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and Dubai Desert Classic.
First-round leader backers may have noticed the Englishman making his presence early and in one hot spell of fast starts he opened with 65s at three tournaments in a row.
Those efforts in Dubai, the Maybank Championship and the WGC-Mexico Championship (yes, he did it there too) put him fifth, first and second respectively after Thursday's action and he'd also ended day one in South Africa inside the top three.
Alongside Tommy Fleetwood, he was also fourth after R1 in the pairs event at the Zurich Classic and even in the top 10 following day one at Wentworth despite going on to miss the cut.
Paisley lost his way for a time after that and his bid to win a PGA Tour card at Web.com Finals looked to be a futile exercise as he missed the cut in the first three events.
Then, seemingly from nowhere, he fired a stunning first-round 61 to lead the closing Web.com Tour Championship and added a Saturday 63 before failing in his mission by a single shot.
He followed that top eight with T24 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship so I think we're looking at a player coming right back to form and one who has a history of starting fast.
Paisley didn't get much going in this event on his only start in 2016 but also note that he was second after day one on his only other visit to the country in the 2014 Turkish Airlines Challenge.
Put everything together and he looks appealing first-round leader material at 60/1.
Tap into Pulkkanen
Turkey has some strong memories for Tapio Pulkkanen after he received an invite to the Challenge Tour's Turkish Airlines Open in 2017 and finished second.
He used that a springboard to the European Tour and he's secured his playing privileges again for next season after a top four finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last month.
Fast starts? In that Challenge Tour event in Turkey he roared out of the blocks with a 62 while in August he opened with 65 at the Nordea Masters and repeated the feat at the following week's Czech Masters to sit inside the top five after the opening lap.
Perhaps he breathed out a little after his 64-69 weekend finish at the Alfred Dunhill which would explain missed cuts at Walton Heath and Valderrama or perhaps those courses were too tough a challenge.
This week's won't be and he may just be able to pop up as a surprise early contender on Thursday at 110/1.
Give Lucas a good look
Aussie youngster Lucas Herbert has emerged as a real star on the European Tour this season and sits 39th on the Race to Dubai after a run of T2, T7 and T3 in his last three events.
Excellent over 72 holes, he's also one who gets straight to work and has proved that with a series of strong starts over the last 12 months.
In the Aussie Open and Aussie PGA he was T6 and T8 respectively after Thursday's play and he's started to repeat that pattern on the European Tour.
Check the top 10 after day one of the Fiji International, Nordea Masters and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and you'll find Herbert's name there while he claimed first-round leader honours with a 63 at the Portugal Masters.
Like that week, we're on an easy resort course here so I think there's a great chance the in-form Aussie can surf the wave and make an early impression.
Take him at 40/1.
Dave's 2018 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)
(After the WGC-HSBC Champions)