A Preview Of The Turkish Airlines Open
November 02, 2016
The fourth edition of the Turkish Airlines Open commences on Thursday at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya – the first of the European Tour’s three Final Series events.
Sadly, the tournament has been struck by the withdrawals of Tiger Woods who cited he need more time to correct major flaws in his game and most recently its star attraction Rory McIlroy informed Tour officials on Saturday of his decision to pull out, citing security concerns after rockets were fired at Antalya by terrorists in the middle of October.
This year had promised to be the most exciting Turkish Airline Open to date with Turkish Gold Federation (TGF) president Ahmet Agaoglu acknowledging that the announcements of Tiger and Rory competing “made a real statement” and “added even more weight to the tournament”. Consequently, losing its two most high-profile names and in particular Europe’s top player is a major setback for a competition which is seen as the beginning of a crucial run to the culmination of the campaign.
However, great intrigue will still surround the event as McIlroy’s withdrawal will allow the likes of Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton to make up some vital ground on current Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson who is also sitting the event out.
Frenchman Victor Dubuisson has won two of the three Turkish Airlines Opens to date, with Brookes Koepka the other victor in 2014. However, “Le Sulk” must defend his title on a new course this week following the decision to move the event away from the Montgomerie Maxx.
With its large, rolling and quick greens, the Carya course has been enthused by the timeless heathland courses prominent in the UK and the planting of more than one million heather plants give the course a distinctive appearance like no other.
The key hole is likely to be the extremely demanding 18th – a par-5 of over 550 yards with water perilously lurking left of the green and bunkers lingering short of the putting facade.
With each hole providing different challenges and requiring different lines of attack, it promises to be a fascinating event in what is still a very strong field. Here is a look at some of the key names and favourites to look out for.
Odds: 12/1 (Ladbrokes)
The Austrian has the advantage of already being familiar with the course as it provided the setting for the Turkish Airlines Challenge six years ago. Back then he finished five shots shy of the play-off, but his recent form has been scintillating – boasting four top seven finishes from his last five starts.
Odds: 14/1 (Ladbrokes)
Hatton is the second highest ranked player taking part and he will be brimming with confidence following his emphatic breakthrough win in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
Odds: 25/1 (Bet365)
Has faltered badly since becoming Masters Champion in April and has consequently been overtaken by Stenson in the Race to Dubai standings. Must improve on his dreadful showing in Shanghai where he finished 74th.
Odds: 40/1 (Bet365)
The three-time major winner was a man reborn in Portugal last month where he claimed his first European Tour title in eight years. His birdie-laden closing round of 65 saw him pip Andy Sullivan to the crown by one stroke and finish on a dazzling 23 under par. Could we see some more vintage Harrington in Turkey?