Britain's Ian Poulter was leading the field by three strokes when a thunderstorm caused play to be abandoned for the day midway through the second round of the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open yesterday.
Poulter, chasing his first victory of the season, was 13-under-par through 14 holes when lashing rain and high winds sent the players scurrying off the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course at midday.
The 38-year-old Englishman started the round one behind Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez but a run of six birdies, and a solitary bogey at the 12th, meant he surged three strokes ahead of Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge who had played 13 holes. Australian Wade Ormsby (16 holes) and American Brooks Koepka (15) were sharing third spot on nine under.
Poulter said the weather was fine for much of the round before it turned in dramatic fashion. "All of a sudden we had a wind switch around the 11th hole and it started to change the course," he told reporters.
There was a moment when the wind and rain relented enough for the players to venture on to the practice range before the bad weather returned. Organisers are confident the course can soak up the heavy rain that has fallen in southern Turkey.
Jimenez was unable to repeat the sizzling nine-under effort he produced on the opening day and was back on eight-under in the penultimate event of the European Tour season.
The 50-year-old Spaniard, who has won twice this season, started well with birdies at the first two holes but slipped down the leaderboard after dropped shots at the fourth, 12th and 13th.
Darren Clarke was one over after 14 holes. He carded four birdies and two bogeys before play was abandoned. Clarke lies in joint 56th while Belfast player Michael Hoey is near the foot of the leaderboard on 14 over after 14.
Shane Lowry is the best of the Irish trio on seven under after 15.