McIlroy on course to be crowned number one as Garcia struggles in Turkey
Only Jamie Donaldson and Marcel Siem can now overtake Rory at the top of the Race to Dubai
Sergio Garcia’s slim chance of overtaking Rory McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai seem to have dissappeared at the Turkish Airlines Open
Sergio Garcia’s slim chance of preventing Rory McIlroy being crowned European number one for the second time in two years looked to have disappeared after just 15 holes of the Turkish Airlines Open on Thursday.
Garcia, Ryder Cup team-mate Jamie Donaldson and Germany’s Marcel Siem can still overtake McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai, but only if they win both in Turkey and next week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
World number one McIlroy is the only player to win back-to-back titles on the European Tour in 2014 and Garcia’s erratic performance in the opening round in Antalya meant that statistic looked increasingly secure.
Starting on the back nine, Garcia had made the ideal start with a birdie on the par-five 10th, but after a string of pars the Spaniard three-putted the 18th and also took six on the par-five first.
After a birdie on the second Garcia carded another six on the fourth and things went from bad to worse on the sixth, where the world number four found water off the tee and also lost a ball on his way to a triple-bogey seven.
At three over par, Garcia was already 11 shots behind compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez, who started the day by holing his second shot to the 10th for an eagle and then added six birdies to lead by one shot from England’s Ian Poulter.
Poulter had also recorded an eagle and six birdies with just a solitary bogey on the 12th keeping him out of the lead, with South African pair Branden Grace and Hennie Otto sharing the clubhouse lead on five under with France’s Romain Wattel, Italy’s Edoardo Molinari and Scotland’s Marc Warren.
Siem, who won the BMW Masters at the start of the month, had reached five under par after 12 holes only to drop four shots in quick succession, while Donaldson had suffered a similarly poor run to fall back to level par.