Poulter leads as weather halts play in Turkey


Inclement weather halted play Friday at the Turkish Airlines Open, but it didn't do much to slow down Ian Poulter.

After opening with an 8-under 64, Poulter kept up the pace by playing his first 14 holes in 5 under before play was suspended. At 13 under for the championship, he holds a three-shot lead over Brendon de Jonge and looks to win for the first time since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions.

Poulter struggled through much of this year, but after a switch to Titleist equipment he tied for sixth last week in China and has successfully carried that momentum with him to Turkey. According to the Englishman, the change in his performance is rooted in his clean bill of health.

"Within the space of a couple weeks, I feel really good about myself. The injuries, I don't have any aches or pains, which is really nice," he told reporters after the opening round. "I feel strong, and that means I can practice. And when I practice and start holing some putts, then I'm going to be full of confidence like I am right now."

Poulter trailed Miguel Angel Jimenez by one shot after the opening round, but the Spaniard now sits five shots off the pace after playing 14 holes in 1 over. Jimenez notched birdies on each of his first two holes to race to 11 under, but he failed to make another birdie the rest of the day and fell off the pace after back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13.

De Jonge completed 13 holes of his second round in 3 under and is looking to win for the first time on the European Tour. Following a playoff loss last month at the McGladrey Classic, de Jonge finished T-13 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and is again in contention this week in Turkey.

Other players in the mix heading into the weekend include Brooks Koepka, whose 6 under total through 15 holes was the lowest score when play was called. At 9 under, he sits four shots off the pace along with Australia's Wade Ormsby, who finished his opening round with six straight birdies and was 3 under through 16 holes on Friday.