Stenson, Poulter among Turkish leaders; Woods near
PHOTOS: Turkish Open, Rounds 1 & 2
See the action and emotion from Tiger Woods and other standouts in the field during the first two rounds of the 2013 Turkish Open.
Tiger Woods worked his magic in Friday’s second round of the Turkish Airlines Open, climbing to just one shot back of FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and two others.
The conditions could not have been better Friday for the 78 players in the field, and 57 players ended the second round at par or better. South African Justin Walters, Victor Dubuisson of France, Stenson and Poulter top the pack at 12 under.
Just one shot back at 11 under is Woods, with South African Richard Sterne one shot further back at 10 under after a 7-under 65.
Woods showed no signs of a 9-under 63 when he completed his first round Friday morning. Making just two birdies and a costly bogey at the last, the World No. 1 finished his last eight holes at 1 under and shot a pedestrian 2-under 70 – far off of early leaders Thomas Bjorn, Darren Fichardt and Stenson, who were at 7 under.
But Woods shook off the rust quickly in the afternoon with three consecutive birdies starting on the second hole. He made the turn at 5-under 30 and continued the bogey-free round with four more birdies, including consecutive birdies at the last two.
“It was a round that could have been really special, but I’m right there,” Woods said of his lowest round since a second-round 61 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August. “I hit it better, there’s no doubt. The first day I didn’t hit it very good, just kind of hanging in there.”
Stenson, still playing with an injured right wrist, found a way to get it around with a 4-under 68, but the wrist has gotten progressively worse during the first two rounds. While it's part of his plan, the Swede mentioned the possibility of a withdrawal from the weekend or next week's finale in Dubai if the wrist gets worse.
“It's gotten a little worse again,” Stenson said as he held his wrist up with his left hand. “I think it's inflamed, and yesterday and today, and the warm‑up kind of strained it and had a little part in there. It's obviously not in great shape, and I'm just trying to keep it together day by day and hope I'm going to be able to finish the tournament and that it's not going to get worse and then obviously we'll evaluate going forward.”
After taking five weeks off, Poulter has shown his game is in good shape with consecutive rounds of 66 to start. Two more low rounds could not only get him his first win of the year, but likely help him take the lead in the Race to Dubai entering the finals at Dubai next week.
“Obviously, sitting there at the top of the board is a nice position to be in,” Poulter said after his round. “Going into the weekend, there’s some good names right there right behind, and it’s going to be a fun chase down the stretch.”
The last two rounds will be played in conditions similar to Friday's, with some wind and warm days around 80 to 85 degrees. It's ideal for scoring – and everyone believes the final two rounds will be a frenzy of scoring.
“You’re going to have to go 20-plus probably to win this tournament,” Woods said when assessing his chances. “Forecast is supposed to be like this the rest of the week, so if that’s the case, just expect that guys are going to be aggressive and guys are going to make a lot of birdies.”