The European Tour: Turkish Airlines Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

Damien Kayat previews the Turkish Airlines Open taking place at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort in Turkey from the 1st to the 4th of November. 

The European Tour
Rolex Series
Turkish Airlines Open
Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort, Antalya, Turkey
1st November-4th November

The European Tour is cranking into top gear as the Race to Dubai nears its conclusion. The Turkish Airlines Open will mark the beginning of a trio of Rolex Series events that bring the season to an end.
The Turkish Airlines Open was first staged five years ago and this will be the 6th edition of this event. 

The first three editions took place at Montgomerie Maxx Royal, with the venue changing to Carya two years back. This is an invitational field that is supposed to be reserved for the top 70 in the standings plus invites, though many have opted to dodge this week’s event. 

As designed by Thompson, Perret and Lobb, Carya was envisaged as Turkey’s first ever Heathland-inspired course. It is said to be chiefly inspired by Walton Heath and Sunningdale. 

The undulating sand hills are cut into a pine forest, making this a rather picturesque tree-lined course. The Bermuda fairways are narrower than average while the large greens are undulating. They also run at a fairly brisk 12 on the stimp considering European standards. Water is in play on eight holes in an event that has seen prodigious scoring over the last two years. 

Francisco Molinari’s recent dip in form has presented a real opportunity to Tommy Fleetwood to retain his status as European Number One.

Fleetwood and defending champion Justin Rose headline the field this week with a disappointing amount of top players withdrawing.  Thorbjorn Olesen is the one other Ryder Cup star in attendance this season.  Kiradech Aphibarnrat was sensational last week in China while the likes of Shane Lowry and Hao Tong Li will look to make an impression and climb those Race to Dubai standings. 

Past Winners

  • 2017: Justin Rose (-18)
  • 2016: Thorbjorn Olesen (-20)
  • 2015: Victor Dubuisson (-22)*Mont Maxx
  • 2014: Brooks Koepka (-17)*Mont Maxx
  • 2013: Victor Dubuisson (-24)*Mont Maxx

Betting Favourites (To Win): 

  • Justin Rose (5/1)
  • Tommy Fleetwood (8/1)
  • Thorbjorn Olesen (18/1)
  • Shane Lowry (20/1)
  • Hao Tong Lin (22/1)

Value Bets

Julian Suri- To Win (45/1), To Place (19/2)

Julian Suri has course credentials, having finished in 8th place on debut last year. Suri makes a very appealing proposition this week considering his recent performance at the British Masters.  His top 5 at Walton Heath was compelling considering that this course is largely based on that links-style course. He also possesses a runner-up finish at the Open de France earlier this year. Suri is an American with a certain sense of swagger and I have no doubt that he will capture his 2nd European Tour title eventually. 

Padraig Harrington- To Win (55/1), To Place (12/1)

Prospective Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington has been enjoying a wonderful Indian summer, with three top 7 finishes in his last six starts. He also has course credentials, finishing 4th in last year’s event on the back of absolutely no form. Harrington is a master of Heathland courses and is riding a wave of positivity.  He also currently ranks 1st on the European Tour for scrambling, which could prove essential considering the undulating nature of these large greens.  He also ranks 6th for sand saves and 5th for strokes gained around the green, highlighting his ability to minimize disaster. 

Matthew Southgate- To Win (80/1), To Place (17/1)

While Southgate may be one of the least consistent players on tour, there does seem to be some value in him around this course.  His last six scores around here read 69-65-69-69-68-67 and he managed to finish in 11th last year.  Only six players in the field rank above Southgate in par 4 scoring. While he has only twice finished in double digits under par this year, I still feel he might be worth a sneaky bet in the 1st Round leader stakes. 66/1 to lead after round one seems an enticing risk. 

The Man to Beat- Kiradech Aphibarnrat- To Win (28/1), To Place (6/1)

Aphibarnrat was simply sensational in his push for the WGC title in China last week. His fairly drastic weight loss hasn’t impeded his strength and it seems as if his touch around the greens is exceptional. Aphibarnrat has great form in this event, finishing 3rd in the final renewal at Mont Maxx. He finished 25th on his Carya debut before a 6th place last year. 

Aphibarnrat also tends to play well this time of year, with finishes of 2-24-6-42-2-10-1-5 twelve months ago, ensuring him a place at the Masters.  Currently sitting in 14th in the Race to Dubai, Aphibarnrat will be looking to crack the top 10 for the first time in his career, having finished 11th and 13th before.   

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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