There will be plenty of Scottish golfers who wouldn’t mind the career David Drysdale has carved out for himself.

The softly-spoken Borders man is certainly not one for seeking out the limelight or making bold declarations of intent but his quiet, effective industry and defiant sense of ersitness has turned him into the kind of hardy perennial that would have members of the Royal Horticultural Society eagerly observing his enduring qualities.

Drysdale has had some form of ranking for the European Tour since 2002, and has safely retained his place at the top table for the past nine seasons. There’s still time for 2017 to be his best year yet.

Loading article content

A spirited three-under 68 in the first round of the Turkish Airlines Open here at the Regnum Carya resort left him sitting on the fringes of the top 10 on a day when Haydn Porteous,

Nicolas Colsaerts and Joost Luiten went on something of a Turkey shoot to share the lead with seven-under 64s.

Drysdale, meanwhile, was a bit slow to get going. “I wasn’t quite with it this morning and didn’t feel very awake,” said the 42-year-old who slithered to two-over par after his opening six spluttering holes.

Drysdale eventually emerged from his slumbers, though, and got into his groove with a haul of five birdies which repaired the earlier damage and hoisted him back up the order.

Drysdale currently sits in 48th place on the Race to Dubai. Funnily enough, that is the position where he finished the 2009 season and earned his highest ever European Tour ranking.

With two more big-money events to come in South Africa and Dubai after this stop off in Turkey, the two-time Challenge Tour winner is well on course to eclipsing that particular feat. There is one target that keeps driving him on.

“I want to qualify for next year’s Open at Carnoustie and I can do that by finishing in the top 30 of the rankings,” added Drysdale who has played in just two Opens, in 2009 at Turnberry and this year at Royal Birkdale. “I’ve never been near the top 30, ever and I need some big weeks if I want to do that but I’ve given myself that chance by getting into these last three events.

“I loved the Open this year, it was the best event I’ve ever played in. You never want to spend the third week in July sitting on the couch do you? So Carnoustie 2018 is the goal.”

While Drysdale ambled along quite the thing after a sluggish start, the leading trio of Colsaerts, Porteous and Luiten set a brisk pace with their seven-under cards as they finished a stroke clear of Andres Romero and Padraig Harrington.

Colsaerts, the big-hitting Belgian, fortified his assault on the summit with three birdies in a row from the seventh before upping the ante with an eagle on the 12th. The addition of a new driver to his armoury has bolstered the former Ryder Cup player’s fire power. “It seems like I can do what I want this this new driver a bit more,” he said. “My driving was one of the main things that I did well in the past and once I’m comfortable off the tee, I’m always going to be there.”

Stephen Gallacher was chirpy enough after a neatly assembled two-under 69. The 43-year-old has been changing his swing and tweaking his grip to protect a hand injury that caused him numerous problems.

Gallacher has been taking tips and absorbing the pearls of wisdom from the books of the late, great doctor of golf, John Jacobs, and the former Ryder Cup player feels he is heading in the right direction.

“I am delighted with that for my first test of my new grip under tournament pressure,” said Gallacher. “.

And as for the book? “I’ve got a lot of books,” he added. “But I am dangerous when I read books. That’s why I stick to fiction rather than golf tuition.

“But this one is about going back to fundamentals and it’s working.”