ANTALYA, Turkey – After two rounds at the Turkish Airlines Open, the field took on a distinct redemption feel with Danny Willett and Tom Lewis just two strokes off the pace set by Justin Rose.
Willett has been slowed in recent years by shoulder and knee injuries and dropped outside the top 400 in the World Ranking this summer, but he continued his climb back to competitive relevance with a second-round 65. That’s a dramatic turnaround to where he was at this point last year when he didn’t qualify for the final three Race to Dubai events.
“It’s a different league,” Willett said. “The main goal this year was for the body at the end of the season to be better than it was at the beginning, which it is, and the golf game is following that trend.”
Lewis has also endured his share of forgettable moments since he won on the European Tour just weeks after turning pro in 2011. The Englishman lost his tour card in recent years and at this point last year he was fighting to regain his status at the qualifying school tournament.
Full-field scores from the Turkish Airlines Open
“It’s been great,” Lewis said following a round-of-the-week 63 on Friday. “Obviously my summer has been very good and playing my first Rolex Series event, it’s nice to play in a small field. It’s nice to know that you’re playing all four rounds.”
Lewis split time this season between the European Tour and Challenge Tour before breaking through for his second title in September at the Portugal Masters to regain his status and secure his spot in the Race to Dubai finals events.