ANTALYA, Turkey: Big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts looked in a class of his own opening-up a four-shot cushion at the midway stage the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Colsaerts didn’t drop a shot in a second straight seven-under par 64 to move to 14-under in ideal conditions on the Regnum Carya course in Antalya.
England’s Eddie Pepperell birdied his closing two holes in a second straight 66 to move into second place at 10-under par.
The Brussels-born Colsaerts capped his round with four birdies in his opening six holes as he looks to capture a third European Tour title and a first in more than five years.
“I had to work a little bit harder for today’s score as day one was kind of eyes closed and everything kind of was falling into my lap,” he said.
“Today it’s actually more satisfying to shoot the same score but having to go and find it a little bit more. I still played great.
“I kept the ball in play the way I wanted. I had a bit of a good break on the second hole and that was pretty much what I wanted, as I recovered well every time I hit a bad shot.
“So I guess that was a key.”
Colsaerts effort was one-shot shy of matching the tournament’s opening 36-hole low of 15-under set a year ago by eventual winner, Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark
And with now four rounds this week of 64 and three scores of 65 on day two Colsaerts will need to maintain the scoring momentum if he is to claim the $1.6m (1.4mn euros) first prize cheque.
“If I’m capable of going 14- under in two rounds, then somebody else or a few other guys are capable of doing the same,” he said.
“So, I guess it has to be more of the same over the weekend.
“I’m going to try to keep playing the way I’ve been playing the last two days. I’m comfortable off the tee. I’ve been hitting my irons quite well. Probably not get ahead of myself, and see wherever that takes me.”
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat has put himself into contention with a second round 67 that included a superb birdie at the last to move to third at nine-under par.
The World No. 95 ranked golfer recorded his fourth top-10 on the Tour late last month in finishing second at the Italian Open.
“Well, it’s always a good way to finish the last with a birdie and get away from the golf course,” Kiradech said.
“So, it will be sweet dreams overnight. It’s a little bit closer to Nicolas, but the way he’s playing the first two rounds is fantastic.
“The good thing is that the last three months, I have been playing solid golf and really comfortable with the swing. The way I’m striking the ball is fantastic.
“I’m also working with my coach, Peter Cowen and understanding what to do, and I think it’s working the right way.”
Current European Tour No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood added a second round 70 to move to one-under par and a share of 38th place.
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Turkish Airlines Open scores
Second round leading scores at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday (par 72). GB/IRE unless stated:
128 – Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 64 64
132 – Eddie Pepperell 66 66
133 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 66 67
134 – Shane Lowry 68 66, Stephen Gallacher 69 65, Matthew Southgate 69 65, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 65
135 – Lee Westwood 67 68
136 – Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69 67, Jordan Smith 69 67, Peter Uihlein (USA) 69 67, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 67 69
137 – Dylan Fritelli (RSA) 70 67, Justin Rose 69 68, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 69 68, Paul Dunne 67 70, Tyrrell Hatton 67 70, Ian Poulter 66 71, Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 66 71, Anders Romero (ARG) 65 72, Padraig Harrington 65 72, Joost Luiten (HOL) 64 73
141 – Tommy Fleetwood 71 70, Thonas Bjorn 70 71
142 – Martin Kaymer (GER) 71 71
144 – Henrik Stenson (SWE) 73 71