Big guns move into position for a shot at glory in Turkish Open
Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter in a four-way tie for lead while Tiger Woods is one adrift following a 63
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal Course in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
The marketing gurus couldn’t have planned it any better. As the sun replaced the opening morning’s thunderstorms, the gathering of the sport’s elite here in the Turkish Airlines Open – on a manicured course which embellishes Colin Montgomerie’s design portfolio – rose to the challenge.
Tiger. Henrik. Poults. All of them elbowed their way into contention, with the extra dimension of Ian Poulter’s chase down of Henrik Stenson’s lead atop the Race to Dubai rankings adding to the intrigue.
On a day when the unfinished business of the first round was completed, the second round – which saw Tiger Woods leapfrog his way through the field with a 63 – produced a quartet of players sharing the midway lead on 132, 12-under-par : Stenson, Poulter, Justin Walters and Victor Dubuisson. Woods’s endeavours left him lurking menacingly, a shot further adrift.
This was a day of strange deeds, one of which included Shane Lowry discovering a broken putter in his bag as he finished his pre-round routine on the practice putting green. With only eight minutes before his scheduled tee-time, his caddie Dermot Byrne was dispatched to the pro shop to find a putter.
It proved a problematic replacement, with Lowry using the blade 34 times before returning it to the shop and glad to see the back of it.
In signing for a 75 for 147, on a day when low scoring was the norm, Lowry fell towards the depths of the leaderboard.
“The head was bent, broke, unusable,” said Lowry, who put his hands up and accepted responsibility. The act, it seemed, had been perpetrated in frustration at the end of his round on Thursday after a three-putt finish. The damage was only discovered as he readied himself to start his second round.
Lowry’s woes on the greens were obvious as he struggled with the newly acquired Ping model rather than the TaylorMade he had used since the Dunhill Links.
“The problem is my (broken) putter is really, really upright. And I putt cack-handed. And this thing was probably the flattest putter they’ve got in Turkey. Honestly, I had to use the conventional grip for the back nine because I was trying to putt cack-handed and couldn’t get the ball on line. I had to use a conventional grip which I haven’t used since I was 18.”
He added: “It’s the only week of the year I didn’t bring a spare putter. It is annoying, because it is my own fault. I probably deserve it. It is a lesson.”
For his part, Pádraig Harrington – who answered a 4.45am wake-up call to finish his first round with a 68 – overcame the loss of a ball on the 14th, which led to a double bogey six, to sign for a 70 that left him on 138, six-under-par. Damien McGrane shot a 73 for 143.