Willett's back-nine birdie blitz hoists him up Turkish Airlines Open leaderboard

Sheffield's Danny Willett had six birdies in his back nine in the third round of the Turkish Airways Open.
Sheffield's Danny Willett had six birdies in his back nine in the third round of the Turkish Airways Open.

SHEFFIELD'S Danny Willett produced a flurry of birdies on his inward nine to card a third-round 68 in the Turkish Airlines Open.

Willett lies second in the Race to Dubai standings and hopes to overhaul leader Rory McIlroy in the season's four-tournament finale.

But the former world No 1 seems equally determined to stay at the top and shot his third consecutive 67 to stand at 15 under par, six ahead of Willett and just one off the lead.

"Things were a bit stale on the first nine holes, but I just kept pressing," said Willett, who was one over going out.

"I got lucky once or twice (on the back nine).

"Our goal was to try and win one (of the last four events) and, if not, make a lot of money along the way and jump Rory."

Asked what a good score would be in the final round, he laughed and commented: "59 would be good," adding, "we've given ourselves a chance."

His fellow Sheffielder Matt Fitzpatrick had nine birdies in a 63 in the second round, 10 shots fewer than his opening effort.

But he endured another frustrating day to bookend his nine-under-par score from Friday with another one-over 73.

He was out in level par, with a birdie at four negated by a bogey at six, but went back to one under for the day with another birdie at 11.

He gave the shot back immediately at 12 and two more were shed, at holes 15 and 17, before he birdied the par-5 last to stand seven under overall.

France's Victor Dubuisson also birdied the last to draw alongside South Africa's Jaco van Zyl at the top of the leaderboard going into the last day.