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
Requiring a top-10 finish to get into next week’s Race to Dubai finale, Harrington lamented what might have been.
“I probably left four shots out there,” he said, referring to that lost ball on the 14th where he hit it into a waste area but also his failure to hole a number of birdie opportunities. ”
Harrington heads into the weekend with some work to do if he is to achieve a top-60 on the moneylist and make the season closing DP World championship in the desert.
Of rather more intrigue is the duel developing between Stenson and Poulter in the money race. Poulter has been spurred on, by a side bet he struck with the Swede. It came about when playing a practice round at Lake Nona – where they both have properties – in which Poulter wagered $100 at 10/1 that he could catch Stenson, a seemingly runaway winner of the order of merit at the time.
“I told him I’m going to chase him down, because he was so far in front. I like to make these silly things. He said he’d like to take the bet on and I said, ‘I need some odds’. He said he’d give me ten to one, so I had a little hundred bucks. But I also said, ‘Look, if I do manage to catch you and pass you, we will have a nice night out and you have to pour my drinks for the evening’. I think a thousand bucks isn’t an issue to him but pouring my drinks all night might be a big problem,” said Poulter who made inroads on Stenson’s lead with a runner-up finish in last week’s HSBC and has continued that form here with back-to-back 66s.
Stenson is also battling with an injured wrist. He admitted, “It’s not in great shape, but it’s playable and I hope it doesn’t get any worse. One day at a time, one shot at a time!”
Woods, who stayed up late to watch a college football game involving Stanford University, showed no evidence of tiredness in playing 25 holes, completing his first round – with a 70 – and then going out again to fire a bogey-free 63.
“That could have been so special. But I’m right there. I’m only one back. It’s bunched.” The smile spoke volumes. He is in the thick of it. Just where he likes to be.