Turkish Open: Sheffield’s Fitzpatrick in contention as Colsaerts flies ahead

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick
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Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick is among the front-runners at the halfway stage of the £5.3 million Turkish Airlines Open.Nicolas Colsaerts is in pole position to end a five-year victory drought after claiming a four-shot lead in the first two rounds.

Colsaerts carded a second successive 64 at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort to reach 14 under par, with England’s Eddie Pepperell his nearest challenger after back-to-back rounds of 66.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is five shots off the pace after a 67, with Ireland’s Shane Lowry, Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Fitzpatrick, pictured, and England’s Matthew Southgate another stroke adrift on eight under.

Colsaerts’ last European Tour title came in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2012 and helped persuade Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal to select the big-hitting Belgian as one of his wild cards.

The 34-year-old contributed one point to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ after carding eight birdies and an eagle in partnership with Lee Westwood as the European pair defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

And after getting his career back on track with three top-three finishes last season, Colsaerts now has his sights set on a return to the winner’s circle.

“I always feel like it’s pretty close because I feel like I’m good enough to do decent showings in big events and on regular occasions,” Colsaerts said.

“It’s just little things that have to click together. We all know there are a lot of guys that can win four or five times a year and don’t for a couple of years.

“As long as I keep my head straight and put myself in a good position I’d like to think I can land a few more wins.”