Colsaerts leads after back-to-back 64s

European Tour

Nicolas Colsaerts took charge of the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday with a second successive 64.

The Belgian continued his mastery of the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort to take a four-shot lead into the weekend.

An elite field is chasing the lucrative $7m prize fund, but none of them could keep pace with Colsaerts on the day as he moved to 14 under par with his second bogey-free round of the tournament.

Englishman Eddie Pepperell is his closest challenger after carding a pair of 66s that leaves him on 10 under.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat follows on nine under thanks to a 67, while Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, English pair Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matthew Southgate, and Ireland’s Shane Lowry were all eight under.

The day belonged to Colsaerts, however, who hasn’t won a European Tour title since 2012 but did finish third at BMW PGA Championship earlier this year.

The 34-year-old started like a house on fire, birdying four of the opening six holes. After four straight pars, he picked up two more shots at the 11th and 12th, before a seventh birdie at 15 saw him stretch his lead to four shots over the rest of the field.

That’s a sizable lead, although Colsaerts isn’t counting any chickens before they hatch.

“I’m only four ahead,” he said. “It’s not like I’m eight ahead. I have two rounds to play and so do the other guys. If I’m capable of doing what I did the first two rounds, I think there’s a bunch of guys that are capable of doing the same.

“I just have to make sure I keep playing the way I do, not get ahead of myself and bring those good vibes that I had the first two rounds to the last two.

“I wasn’t quite as good off the tee, I thought, but still played great shots into greens and holed the putts that I thought I should have been making. So it felt a little bit more like work today but it’s pretty satisfying to go seven under again without, I thought, playing as smoothly.”

Further down the field, Justin Rose carded a 68 to get to five under, nine back, while Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood lies at one under after a second-round 70.

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