ANTALYA, Turkey – Belgium’s long-driving phenom Nicolas Colsaerts leads the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open by four shots on 14-under-par 128 after a pair of superb 64s, from England’s Eddie Pepperell on 132, with Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat on shot further back.
Leading South African is Dylan Frittelli, nine shots off the pace, but who had some consolation in that he played the shot of the day in round two on Friday.
The par-4 10th hole at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort is a 505-yard intimidating monster, with water all down the left and hard up against the green, and giant trees all the way down the right.
It was Frittelli’s final hole of the day as he started his round at No 11, and he was going along nicely at four-under-par and bogey-free through 17 holes.
“But I managed to carve my drive way right into the trees,” said the 27-year-old. There was a gap through the tall tree trunks, but the shot off the pine needles from nearly 200 yards out needed to be executed perfectly to avoid further timber, or water.
He played an outrageously good recovery, his ball finding the putting surface only to trickle past the pin at the back of the green into a bunker.
But from there he got and down for a remarkable par, a fine round of 67 and a five-under-par 36-hole return of 137.
Colsaerts, though, is going great guns and has made 13 birdies and an eagle so far, with just a solitary bogey.
“Nicolas is going to take some catching, so all I can do is to try and make 12 or 13 birdies myself over the weekend and see what happens,” said Frittelli, who captured the Lyoness Open in Austria in June for his maiden European Tour victory.
Frittelli was, in college golf, also an All-American alongside teammate Jordan Spieth at the University of Texas, sinking a 30-foot putt at the 18th to give his side victory in the 2012 NCAA Championship.
Being 39th in the Race to Dubai, Frittelli’s a shoo-in for next week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge where he will make his debut, and the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship in Dubai after that.
“My goal is to try for top-10s in these last three big-money events, which hopefully will get me into the top 30 in the final Race to Dubai standings, and top 30 gets you into the 2018 majors. That’s the goal anyway.”
Fellow South African Haydn Porteous, who co-led with Colsaerts and Joost Luiten on seven-under 64 overnight, stumbled to three double-bogeys yesterday en route to a 75 to be on 139.
George Coetzee had a triple-bogey eight at the par-5 15th, but recovered to shoot 71 to be on 142.