Matthias Schwab maintained his position at the top of the Turkish Airlines Open leaderboard after another low-scoring day at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal.
The Austrian started the day in a share of the lead at the sixth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai but, after yesterday’s redraw, a number of golfers quickly made their move up the leaderboard with ten competitors finishing the day on ten under par or better.
The 24-year-old leads the standings in the highest number of top ten finishes on the European Tour this season, with nine. He has five top tens in his last eight starts, including T4 finishes at the Italian Open, a Rolex Series event, and his debut World Golf Championships appearance at last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions
Schwab birdied the last to move to 12 under par, one stroke ahead of Thomas Detry, who finished third at this event last year, Ross Fisher and two-time Rolex Series winners Alex Noren and Danny Willett.
Twice-defending champion Justin Rose, who is bidding to become just the fourth golfer on the European Tour to win a non-Major or WGC event three years in a row, shares sixth place with four others on ten under par.
Patrick Reed, who received a Captain’s Pick for the Presidents Cup overnight, took inspiration from his phone call with United States Captain Tiger Woods as he carded a seven under par round of 65 to move to nine under par, just three strokes behind Schwab.
Matthias Schwab: “I wasn’t really hitting them great at all, especially early on but kept it together. Obviously the start was good with an eagle on the first hole, but then it was not very nice to watch I think. The long game wasn’t on but I managed to make a few good pars. On the back nine I found my swing a little bit and made a few good birdies coming home.
“Every made putt is important. I had a few good par saves on the previous holes, too, but the one on 9 kept the round going a little bit. Yeah, and then the back nine it was a little bit better. I just gave myself a few more looks on the back nine than the front nine. It was just keeping it together and I made a few good pars, especially on 9 where I hit it on in the water off the tee and scrambled to make par. Then on the back nine I was better with my long game. I had a few good looks and was able to make some.”
Danny Willett: “A lot better than yesterday. Real solid. Didn’t really give ourselves too many silly things. Had a couple of three-putts in there which was slightly annoying but a nice score to build on over the weekend.
“We’re make something good moves. Trying to keep doing the same. Golf course is there for the taking. Going to see a lot of low scores. You’ve just got to hope that someone doesn’t go too crazy over the weekend and hope that you’re still in there with a shout with 18 or 9 to play.
“I said at the beginning of the week, it could be at least 20-under par winning this tournament and it’s right on track for that. You just have to keep your foot down and keep trying at birdies and see what you can do.”
Alex Noren: “On the front nine, I played the best I can play pretty much, and the back nine, I had a lot of chances and you know, the short game kind of went on me a little bit. I’m happy with 11-under total. See what the weekend has.
“Yesterday, I played probably the best I’ve played, and today the front nine was amazing. So I take out a lot of positives. You know, if somebody said you get 11-under after two days, I’d take it. I just have to refocus and not think of what it could have been today, but that’s how it is.”
Patrick Reed: “It means so much to me. Representing our country and wearing red, white and blue is something I absolutely love and am so proud of. To be able to go out and get a pick, especially from Captain Woods, was amazing. The big thing, and what I always was preaching, as well as what he was telling all the guys is, hey, go out and play good golf.
“Playing well takes care of everything. I was able to do that this last couple months. I was able to get on the right side and get the game in form and play the way I’m supposed to be playing, and because of that, I was lucky enough to be able to get a pick. Now the big thing is now that I’ve got a pick is go out and try to earn points for Captain and go bring back the Cup.”
Scores after round two:
132 M Schwab (Aut) 65 67,
133 T Detry (Bel) 67 66, D Willett (Eng) 67 66, A Noren (Swe) 66 67, R Fisher (Eng) 69 64,
134 J Scrivener (Aus) 68 66, J Harding (RSA) 69 65, R Macintyre (Sco) 71 63, D Lipsky (USA) 66 68, J Rose (Eng) 67 67,
135 S Sharma (Ind) 71 64, T Lewis (Eng) 65 70, S Jamieson (Sco) 67 68, A Rai (Eng) 68 67,
136 T Hatton (Eng) 68 68, E Molinari (Ita) 68 68, J Hansen (Den) 68 68, R Langasque (Fra) 70 66, J Luiten (Ned) 67 69, F Zanotti (Par) 69 67, J Campillo (Esp) 68 68, T Pieters (Bel) 66 70, P Reed (USA) 71 65, L Westwood (Eng) 71 65,
137 S Lowry (Irl) 72 65, S Hend (Aus) 69 68, K Kitayama (USA) 69 68, B Hebert (Fra) 67 70, V Perez (Fra) 68 69, A Pavan (Ita) 68 69, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 70 67, P Waring (Eng) 70 67,
138 M Kinhult (Swe) 70 68, S Crocker (USA) 71 67, R Fox (Nzl) 73 65, N Elvira (Esp) 71 67,
139 N Colsaerts (Bel) 71 68, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 67, G Migliozzi (Ita) 72 67, K Samooja (Fin) 71 68, N Bertasio (Ita) 70 69, M Southgate (Eng) 68 71,
140 W Ormsby (Aus) 72 68, Z Lombard (RSA) 73 67,
141 R Paratore (Ita) 73 68, F Molinari (Ita) 71 70, J Lagergren (Swe) 73 68, P Harrington (Irl) 75 66, M Wallace (Eng) 74 67, R Ramsay (Sco) 68 73, A Otaegui (Esp) 69 72,
142 S Soderberg (Swe) 72 70, M Kawamura (Jpn) 75 67, A Arnaus (Esp) 75 67, P Larrazábal (Esp) 72 70, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 72, G Green (Mas) 73 69, R Sterne (RSA) 70 72, J Smith (Eng) 71 71, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 72, G Coetzee (RSA) 71 71,
143 B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 72, H Tanihara (Jpn) 70 73, C Pan (Tpe) 73 70,
144 D Drysdale (Sco) 72 72, H Li (Chn) 73 71, T Yamac (am) (Tur) 72 72,
145 C Paisley (Eng) 73 72, O Wilson (Eng) 71 74,
146 L Bjerregaard (Den) 71 75, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 71 75,
147 S Horsfield (Eng) 74 73, A Quiros (Esp) 76 71,
148 J Walters (RSA) 75 73,
149 S Brown (Eng) 74 75