Hurley and Selfridge start well in Turkish Airlines Challenge
 Gary Hurley

Gary Hurley

Gary Hurley and Chris Selfridge opened up with rounds in the 60s and still found themselves playing catch up in the Turkish Airlines Open.

Red-hot scoring is par for the course on the European Challenge Tour and while West Waterford's Hurley made an eagle and five birdies in a four-under 68 at Gloria Golf Club, he's tied for 13th with Moyola Park's Selfridge, six shots behind leader Tapio Pulkannen of Finland.

The leader had an eagle and 10 birdies in a ten-under-par 62 for a three-shot lead over Denmark's Martin Ovesen, Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Czech Jan Cafourek and England's Ashton Turner, who all carded 65s. Scores

Selfridge made just one bogey in his 68, adding an eagle and three birdies, while the Island's Gavin Moynihan is tied for 29th after a five-birdie 69

Ruaidhri McGee shares 88th after a 72 with Michael Hoey and Cormac Sharvin tied for 108th after a 73 and Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin 135th after a four-over 76.

The 26 year old endured a testing 2016 having won five times on the Nordic Golf League the previous year, but in Belek he showed signs of rediscovering that championship form.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “I rolled some good putts today, and I eagled the fifth hole, so that was pretty special, and I ended with four straight birdies.

“I didn’t want to come off the course, I’d have just liked to keep going! The putter was so hot, it’s not very often it gets that hot so that was really nice.

“I’ve had ten under before at tournaments in Finland but, of course, this is Challenge Tour so I think this is probably the best round I’ve ever played.

“The par fives are good for someone like me who hits it long, and I figured out something with my driving yesterday afternoon so that helped me a lot today.

“I like the greens, I liked them from last year as well, and they’re rolling really pure, not going anywhere other than where you want.

  Tapio Pulkkanen. Picture courtesy Turkish Golf Federation

 Tapio Pulkkanen. Picture courtesy Turkish Golf Federation

“My category this year is not the strongest at the moment so I have a good chance, being here, to make something special happen this week, because my aim this year is to get a full status on the Challenge Tour.

“I haven’t been able to play my best golf on the Challenge Tour yet, that’s how I feel. Last year I had a couple of good weeks but I haven’t been able to play as I want to play, but now I feel like I’m maybe clicking onto something, and I’m feeling comfortable here.”

Neither Frenchman Guerrier nor Denmark’s Ovesen dropped a shot all round, impressive first rounds of 65 putting them both firmly in contention for a maiden victory on the Road to Oman alongside Cafourek of the Czech Republic and Englishman Turner in a tie for second place.

One shot behind that quartet are Steven Brown, Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Ryan Evans and Mads Søgaard, while 2016 champion Clément Sordet opened his title defence with a two under par round of 70.

Scores after Round One:

62 T Pulkkanen (Fin), 

65 M Ovesen (Den), J Cafourek (Cze), J Guerrier (Fra), A Turner (Eng),

66 S Brown (Eng), R Evans (Eng), M Søgaard (Den), E Cuartero Blanco (Esp),

67 M Fenasse (Fra), T Murray (Eng), V Riu (Fra),

68 J Dantorp (Swe), C Ford (Eng), S Fernandez (Esp), M Baldwin (Eng), R McCarthy (Aus), A Tadini (Ita), B Virto (Esp), R Saxton (Ned), T Linard (Fra), J McDonald (Sco), H McCullen (Eng), M Quiros (Esp), Gary Hurley (Irl), M Madsen (Den), J Winther (Den), Chris Selfridge (Nir)

69 J Mullen (Eng), A Pavan (Ita), B Evans (Eng), E Di Nitto (Ita), G Forrest (Sco), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), J Kruyswijk (RSA), M Foster (Eng), R Santos (Por), M Orrin (Eng), S Heisele (Ger), W Besseling (Ned), M Delpodio (Ita), A Ahokas (Fin), K Samooja (Fin), O Farr (Wal), J Kunzenbacher (Ger)

70 J Girrbach (Sui), J Brun (Fra), M Simonsen (Den), C Berardo (Fra), L Van Meijel (Ned), M Hocaoglu (Tur), M Ford (Eng), M Jonzon (Swe), J Van Der Vaart (Ned), M Cort (Eng), R Davies (Wal), P Maddy (Eng), N Ravano (Ita), P Oriol (Esp), J Wrisdale (Eng), J Senior (Eng), A Rai (Eng), R Finch (Eng), C Sordet (Fra), M Wallace (Eng), M Lampert (Ger), B Eccles (Aus), K Johannessen (Nor),

71 C Mivis (Bel), G Porteous (Eng), J Thomson (Eng), R Kellett (Sco), T Shadbolt (Eng), M Lafeber (Ned), J McLeary (Sco), A Quiros (Esp), S Forsström (Swe), J Makitalo (Fin), S Henry (Sco), B Spooner (Eng), M Nixon (Eng), P Widegren (Swe), M Kramer (Ger), D Foos (Ger), M Kinhult (Swe), E Van Rooyen (RSA), M Lundberg (Swe), N Lindstrom (Swe),

72 C Braeunig (Ger), M Laskey (Wal), A Meronk (Pol), E Goya (Arg), Ruaidhri McGee (Irl), O Lengden (Swe), S Benson (Eng), T Lawrence (RSA), R Kakko (Fin), S Soderberg (Swe), R Dinwiddie (Eng), F Maccario (Ita), F Mruzek (Cze), O Wilson (Eng), L De Jager (RSA), B Rusch (Sui), E Ferguson (Sco), M Eggenberger (Sui), M Haastrup (Den),

73 E Dubois (Fra), G Boyd (Eng), L Gagli (Ita), R Hjelm (Den), D Huizing (Ned), Cormac Sharvin (Nir), J Rutherford (Eng), R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra), Michael Hoey (Nir), H Joannes (Bel), D Law (Sco), E Johansen (Nor), F Laporta (Ita),

74 A Saddier (Fra), F Daux (Fra), C Doak (Sco), J Allan (Eng), A Wennstam (Swe), B Neil (Sco), C Lloyd (Eng), E España (Fra), 

75 D Van Driel (Ned), E Kemaloglu (Tur), G Migliozzi (Ita), O Stark (Swe), M Tullo (Chi), C Griffiths (Eng),

76 R McGowan (Eng), M Penny (Eng), A Maestroni (Ita), A Altuntas (Tur), P Dedek (Cze), Gareth Maybin (Nir), C Del Moral (Esp), B Robinson (Eng), B Åkesson (Swe), J Hansen (Den),

77 A Schwartz (Fra), T Ferrer (Esp),

78 L Acikalin (am) (Tur),

79 J Sarasti (Esp), K Varli (Tur), M Coban (am) (Tur), J Shim (am) (Tur), M Guner (am) (Tur), N Schaffrath (am) (Ger),

81 A Rozner (Fra), B Celik (am) (Tur),

82 D Suchan (Cze)