Ormsby overtakes Poulter for lead in Turkey

BELEK, TURKEY– In a perfect world, Ian Poulter would like to start the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open all over again. Instead, Poulter has to accept this reality: A second-round lead blown thanks to a 3-over 75, plus a round of 4-under 68 from chaser Wade Ormsby. Given those circumstances, the Australian emerged Saturday as the third-round leader at the European Tour event.

Poulter now is one shot behind Ormsby with Germany’s Marcel Siem and fellow Englishman Lee Westwood. All are at 11 under.

Brooks Koepka and Englishman Danny Willett round out the top 5 at 10 under.

Poulter started the third round with a six-shot lead after rounds of 64-66, and looked unbeatable at the halfway point of the tournament.

The wheels started to come off on the par-5 first hole when Poulter made a bogey. From there, he struggled to get anything positive going and shot a 3-over 75 to open the door for the entire field.

“It’s brought obviously a lot of players back into the fray,” Poulter said of his poor play in the third round. “Their dinner is going to taste lovely tonight and mine is going to taste horrible.”

Ormsby is not a household name on the European Tour, and has only recorded three top 10s in the 2014 season. The last, a tie for ninth, came in the final event of the regular season at the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

“Game feels good, timing good, making a few putts and the wedges have been great this week,” Ormsby said after a 4-under 68. “So that’s probably the highlight of the whole part of my game at the moment. But I feel good out there so that’s the main thing, keep pressing on.”

Currently 78th in the Race to Dubai standings, Ormsby came to Turkey with the goal of getting into the top 60 and earning an invitation to the DP World Tour Championship Dubai, the last event of the series.

Now, that goal has to be adjusted a little with a chance to win his first European Tour event with only 18 holes to go.

“I just walked off the ninth green, spoke to my caddie, Richard and said, “‘I’ve actually missed a few putts down the front nine.’ As good a score as I’ve shot, I still feel like I left a few out there. So I’ll just keep trying to do what I’m doing, and, yeah, see how I end up.”

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EXPECTED MORE: Poulter is a tremendous overachiever. He is also a pretty good front-runner, which made his utter collapse in the third round even more surprising.

Poulter could have lived with the three bogeys and two birdies through 17 holes, but the error on the short 337-yard par-4 15th was the most costly. Standing in the fairway with a wedge in his hand, Poulter missed the green and would eventually put a double bogey on the card.

“I’m more angry about the wedge shot which led to a double,” Poulter said. “That’s inexcusable for me to make that error right there. That’s disappointing. A simple wedge shot puts me to 20 feet with an outside birdie look at worst, and I hit the tree, so I’m going to be angry about that for a little while tonight and then I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

Now Poulter, who hasn’t won on the European Tour in two years, will have to summon some intestinal fortitude and find the game he had the first two rounds.

“I’m going to get my head down and do the job tomorrow,” a determined Poulter said before leaving for the driving range. “Today was really disappointing to be out of rhythm after playing such great golf. As good as it was for two days, was as poor as it was and disappointing.”

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HOME TOWN ATMOSPHERE: Marcel Siem feels right at home this week. The Turkish coast of Antalya, where most of the country’s golf resorts are located, is also a hotbed for Germans vacationers.

This week is no exception and Siem has been feeding off of the support he has been getting from the visiting German contingent.

“I think it’s like 50, 60, 70 German people around, and on the first tee, I get the biggest clap,” Siem said. “It’s tough. Usually if Sergio is on the tee box together – to get more claps than he does is pretty cool.”

Siem won two weeks ago at the BMW Masters in Shanghai. That win positioned him to overtake leader Rory McIlroy with a win this week in Turkey and next week in Dubai.

If not, McIlroy could skip Dubai and win the race outright.

“It’s a little bit more interesting now for everybody, and for sure, I’ll give it a shot tomorrow, try my best,” Siem said of his Race to Dubai chances. “That’s what we are out here for, and there’s why it’s called Race to Dubai. I will do my best tomorrow to keep it interesting for you guys.”

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ONE LEFT: As opponents Raphael Jacquelin of France and Thomas Aiken from South Africa finished the third round, Spain’s Alejandro Canizares decided to postpone his last hole until Sunday as darkness set in.

Canizares will need to be back in position at 7:30 a.m. on the ninth hole, his last, to complete his round. The fourth round will then be drawn with a a two-tee start that will run from 8:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. local time.

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