Defending champ Rose leads by 2 in Turkey

ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — Defending champion Justin Rose has a two-shot lead halfway through the Turkish Airlines Open after consecutive 6-under-par 65s on Friday.

Another Englishman, Tom Lewis, posted the low score so far of 63 to share second with Danny Willett (65) and 2016 champion Thorbjorn Olesen (67).

A shot behind them at 9 under overall were Adrian Otaegui, who was still bogey free after a 65, Sam Horsfield of England (67), Li Haotong of China (67), and Alexander Levy of France (66).

Rose was nine shots off the pace at this stage a year ago and prevailed, so despite his commanding position this time he doesn’t feel safe, yet, at Regnum Carya Golf Resort.

“I’ve shot two 65s, you can always have somebody from the chasing pack do the same thing,” Rose said.

“For me it’s about keeping moving forward. Even par is not really going to get it done.”

During the day, there was a seven-way tie for the lead.

Lewis finished with the clubhouse lead after his bogey-free 63, one off Olesen’s course record, then was tied by Willett, who seeks his first title since the 2016 Masters.

Rose edged ahead with a brilliant approach shot into the 13th, then Olesen caught him when he birdied the 15th.

But then Olesen three-putted the last hole, and Rose took advantage on the same hole with an approach to 12 feet.

Rose could return to No. 1 with a win on Sunday. It would also mark the first time he’s successfully defended any title.

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