Tiger Woods steps up challenge in Turkey

Story highlights

  • Tiger Woods shoots nine-under 63 at Turkish Airlines Open
  • Moves to within of four-way tie for the lead at 12 under in Antalya
  • Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson among leading four
  • Bad weather disrupted first round play

Tiger Woods lived up to his star billing at the Turkish Airlines Open with a tournament best 63 Friday to put himself firmly in contention at the halfway stage of the $7 million event.

The World No.1 has been followed by sizable and sometimes over enthusiastic galleries in Antalya and was left frustrated by rain delays on the first day.

Woods returned early Friday morning to play the final eight holes of this opening round, picking up three birdies before a late bogey left him on two-under 70.

But after a short break the 14-time major winner began to justify his appearance fee with stunning iron and approach play.

He charged up the leader board to move to 11-under, just one adrift of Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Victor Dubuisson and Justin Walters.

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"I'm right there; that's the whole idea," he told the European Tour website. "Got two more days of hopefully making a lot of birdies.

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"We know it's going to take something really low. You're going to have to go 20 plus probably to win this tournament," he added.

Stenson, who formed a star studded trio with Woods and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, backed up his first round 64 with a 68, despite playing with an injured wrist.

"It's not in a great state. I have inflammation there, and I strained something else yesterday, as well before I teed off.

"So it's not in great shape and I'm just hanging in there day by day and hope it keeps together for another couple of days," said the Swede.

Poulter, who is chasing Stenson hard in the Race to Dubai, has had a pair of 66s with Frenchman Dubuisson and Walters of South Africa firmly on the hunt on 132.

Rose is also in the hunt in a big group at eight under, including fellow Englishman Lee Westwood.

But most eyes will be on Woods, who is hunting his first win in a European Tour event for four years to add to his five victories on the PGA Tour this season to take him back to the top of the rankings.