Golf: Fortified by beauty sleep, Poulter storms six strokes clear in Turkey

Ian Poulter of England tees off at the 5th hole during the 3rd day of the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf tournament in Shanghai on Nov 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Ian Poulter of England tees off at the 5th hole during the 3rd day of the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf tournament in Shanghai on Nov 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BELEK, Turkey (REUTERS) - Ian Poulter seems to be in the mood to turn the US$7 million (S$9.1 million) Turkish Airlines Open into a one-man show after storming six strokes clear of the field when the weather-interrupted second round ended on Saturday.

After a thunderstorm brought play to a premature close on Friday, the players returned to a sopping wet Montgomerie Maxx Royal course early in the morning to complete their rounds and there was no stopping Poulter who had been fortified by plenty of "beauty sleep".

The 38-year-old Englishman birdied the 15th, his first hole of the day, before reeling off three straight pars to add a six-under 66 to his opening 64.

Poulter has yet to win this season after suffering a difficult time with niggling injuries but he is overjoyed to be back near his best.

"It's really exciting, 2014 was looking pretty glum," he told reporters after finishing with a 14-under total of 130. "Hopefully we can turn it into a good one."

There were more thunderstorms in the early hours of Saturday morning in southern Turkey and the deluge of rain that fell would have prevented play resuming on many courses.

"We had two storms, one at 3am and another at about 5am with in excess of 40 millimetres of rain," said tournament director Miguel Vidaor.

"The amazing thing about this golf course is the drainage is incredibly good. We came out here this morning and the course was actually quite dry."

The storms briefly woke up Poulter overnight but he said he was fresh and ready to deal with anything that was thrown at him in the third round later on Saturday.

"I was in bed at seven last night, I had enough of my nine hours of beauty sleep that I require," he explained. "I didn't think we were going to get any action this morning but we've managed to do that which is good news."

Sharing second spot on 136 were Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez (73), Shane Lowry of Ireland (66), American Brooks Koepka (67), Wade Ormsby of Australia (71) and South African pair Hennie Otto (69) and Branden Grace (69).