ENGLAND’S Ian Poulter roared into contention for a first title for two years with a blistering back nine on the first day of the Turkish Airlines Open yesterday.
Poulter sank eight birdies and an eagle in an eight-under-par round of 64 that left him in second place, just one stroke behind the leader, evergreen Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.
An eagle at the par-five 13 came in a five-under back nine that also featured four birdies and raised hopes of Poulter’s first individual win since the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November 2012.
Jimenez, meanwhile, shrugged off criticism of his Ryder Cup captaincy credentials from compatriot Sergio Garcia to card a flawless 63 that included seven birdies and an eagle at the par-four 10th hole.
The 50-year-old will break his own record for the oldest European Tour winner for a second time if he stays atop the leaderboard in Antalya until Sunday evening.
English youngster Tyrrell Hatton signed for a superb 65 to be tied third, with countrymen Oliver Fisher and Andy Sullivan a further shot behind.
The three men who could yet deny world No1 Rory McIlroy first place on the European Tour’s money list, Marcel Siem, Jamie Donaldson and Sergio Garcia, were two under, level par and three over respectively.
Meanwhile, Denmark has withdrawn its bid to stage the 2022 Ryder Cup, leaving Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey as the remaining candidates. France will host the 2018 event, the next time it takes place in Europe, at Le Golf National in Paris.