|Tournament: Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports
Prize fund: US$7 million / 10 million Race to Dubai points
Venue: The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Antalya, Turkey
Third Round Report
Ian Poulter (pictured by Getty Images) continued his superb form in Antalya before the threat of lightning brought a premature halt to the second day o`f the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Tee times had been brought forward by 90 minutes in an attempt to get play completed, but the forecast thunderstorm arrived earlier than expected and, following an aborted re-start, eventually forced play to be abandoned at 2.20pm, with Poulter on the 15th hole.
At 13 under par, the Ryder Cup star led by three shots from Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge when the siren sounded, with Australian Wade Ormsby and American Brooks Koepka a shot further back.
De Jonge was three under par for his 13 holes, whilst Koepka had picked up six shots through 15 holes.
Poulter, whose opening round of 64 meant he was a total of 27 under par for his last five rounds at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, began the day one stroke behind Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, and saw the gap widen as the oldest winner in European Tour history made birdies at the first two holes.
But Jiménez, who will celebrate his 51st birthday in January, then bogeyed the fourth and Poulter took advantage with a birdie on the same hole, before adding further gains at the sixth and seventh holes to move into the lead.
The 38 year old extended his advantage to three shots with a birdie from six feet on the tenth before chipping to within inches of the cup on the par five 11th to set up another.
Poulter carded just his second bogey of the week by three-putting the 12th hole as a strong wind heralded the onset of the storm, but that same wind meant the World Number 40 was able to reach the par five 13th in two and post an easy birdie.
The second round will resume at 8am, with the third round scheduled to begin at 9.15am.
“To be on the top of the leaderboard is always nice. It would have been nice to finish the round off, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be today. We’ll have to wait this one out, see what the weather is going to be like. It’s supposed to be pretty bad tonight and first thing in the morning. Hopefully we can get round two finished at some stage tomorrow and obviously get cracking on round three.
“The weather wasn’t like this for the first 12 holes. We had it pretty good. So therefore we could take advantage of some of the holes out there, which is exactly what I did. Then all of a sudden we had a wind switch around 11, and it started to gust and that changes the golf course dramatically. I think all of us were hoping the electricity was going to come in pretty quickly, because I don’t think any of us wanted to be on this golf course in a 30-mile-an-hour wind. It’s not conducive.
Tournament Director Miguel Vidaor:
“We knew that there was bad weather coming today, that’s why we moved the tee times forward by an hour and 15 minutes, which was as much as we could given the daylight available.
“After watching that storm system coming through, the weatherman thought we were going to get a break of about an hour and 45 minutes until the next one. But he did say there was a chance, because of instability in the air, there would be other thunderstorms popping up. As we went for the restart at 2.40pm, just as the players were warming up on the range, we had another cell just popping up southeast of us heading towards us.
“So we have had to call it for the day and come back tomorrow and restart at 8am. Playing 72 holes is still very much achievable. The players are going to play in the same groupings again in round three, which means we are going to gain a lot of time.
“All being well, we are looking at the last group going off in round three just after 11am tomorrow, which means we are going to be back on track finishing round three just after 4.00pm tomorrow, which then gives us the option to redraw for the final round on Sunday.”
Source: European Tour