Turkish Airlines Open – Carya Golf Club live on Sky Sports 4 at 09:00
Last Weeks Golf
Without doubt my worst tipping week since this golf column began in late June.
In a field of 78 none of the weeks hopes could finish higher than T30, with course specialist and headline pick Martin Kaymer finished a disappointing T40 and Masters champion Danny Willett finishing 75th! None of the leaders were even on my shortlist, so lets just write Sheshan off as ‘one of those weeks’…..
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Still in the green for the year, its time to move on to the European Tour’s end of season jamboree, starting in Turkey.
Tournament History & Field
This is just the fourth edition of the Turkish Airlines Open and like the previous three stagings, it forms part of the tours final series of events. This is a limited field in which entry is decided based upon finishing position in the seasons Race to Dubai money list. It is worth noting that due to the small field, there is no 36 hole cut here.
Many leading names have pulled out for various reasons (mainly scheduling) so the likes of Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson will not be teeing it up this week, despite being on the original entry list.
Danny Willett, Bernd Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan, Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood are the headline names confirmed in the field of 70.
The Montgomerie Maxx was used for the first three stagings of the Turkish Airlines Open.
Sadly this year the event moves down the road to the Carya Golf Club, still in the Antalya region. I say sadly because its always a bit of a guessing game whenever we move to a new layout and after three years at the Montgomerie, there were definitely some trends starting to appear.
The Carya Golf Club is a resort hotel situated on the Antalya coastline and is described online as being ‘inspired by the classic heartland courses found in the UK’ The course website goes on to say tactical approaches are required, ensuring the correct part of the fairway is found to assist players find the right part of the ‘large, undulating and fast greens’
There are many pine and eucalyptus tress that appear to line the fairways, but as with any resort course, I doubt whether it will really be much of a true test to the elite golfers on show this week. I’m expecting a low scoring event, with the winner probably having to shoot around the -18 mark.
A par of 71 and a yardage of 7,127 suggests accuracy might be reasonably important off the tee, but I can’t see any thick rough causing issues this week, so only the most errant of tee shots are likely to be punished. There are three par 5’s of which the 7th is the longest at 605 yards and the 15th the shortest at 503 yards. Strangely the 12th is a par 4 at 505 yards. Three of the four par 3’s are inside the first 8 holes whilst many of the par 4’s are short – only two of the eleven measure longer than 450 yards.
Temperatures will struggle to top 22c all week but sunny conditions should be in place for the first three rounds. There is a chance of some rain come Sunday afternoon, though hopefully no electrical activity will halt play. Winds will be almost non-existent all week, peaking around 8mph each afternoon.
Turkish Airlines Open past winners
2015 – Victor Dubuisson (-22)
2014 – Brooks Koepka (-17)
2013 – Victor Dubuisson (-24)
The big hitting Australian has matured into a multiple winner across various tours over the past few years, including winning the co-sanctioned True Thai Classic in March and the Asia Tours Queen’s Cup in June. A T7 place at the recent high quality CIMB Classic followed a 4th at the KLM Open and a T2 at the European Masters to confirm Hend’s place as a true global golfing performer. The Aussie has also won round the tight and fiddly Hong Kong track, so tree-lined layouts certainly don’t psyche him out. Last week saw him finish a lowly T54 at the HSBC Champions, but I expect him to bounce back this week with a strong showing in Turkey.
We backed the Thai man at the recent British Masters, and despite a slow start, Aphifinished T12 courtesy of a closing round of 64. Kiradech has had a quiet-ish season followed that T15 at Augusta, but did finish 5th in the Olympic games recently. The amiable big hitter has recorded at least one top 3 finish in each of his last 7 seasons as a professional but has yet to register one in 2016 – expect that to change during the final series – hopefully this week in Antalya.
This is the fourth time we’ve backed Lucas this season, having followed him during a T20 and two MC’s previously in 2016. He caught my eye during a closing round of 63 last time out in Portugal, on his way to T12 finish. The Dane has made 6 of his last 8 cuts and appears to be simmering, close to finding his best form once more that last year saw him narrowly miss out on the Hong Kong trophy, losing to Justin Rose down the last. Lucas is a powerful hitter, but seems to enjoy layouts where he can can long irons off shorter par 4’s. I reckon this weeks set-up should be right up his street and he can follow previous champions Dubuisson and Koepka in registering his first European Tour win here.
Prices correct at time of writing.