The European Tour has many ups and downs over the course of a season. It’s fair to say that some of the tournaments are lacking in wow factor when compared to the PGA Tour but it certainly ends with a bang thanks to the finals of the Race to Dubai.
For the third year in a row, the Final Series kicks off with the Turkish Airlines Open. After making its debut as the tournament host, the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort and its 7,127 yard, par 71 course return, as does defending champion, Thorbjorn Olesen.
Regnum Carya Comes Alive on and Around the Greens
Turkish Airlines have become a major sponsor in the world of golf. Their aim is to drive tourists to the country and in that regard, Regnum Carya is a very good choice as the venue for their tournament. It is very much a resort course at which the best players on the European Tour can score very well. Olesen won with a score of -20 12 months ago while -10 just about snuck a place inside the top 10.
We’ve only got one year’s worth of stats to go on but it’s clear that what you do off the tee makes very little difference at Regnum Carya. Olesen’s route to success was by ranking eighth for greens hit in regulation and ninth for putts per round. This year’s winner will need to capitalise on a quality four days of ball striking by holing putts from all over the green.
Fleetwood to Put His Best Foot Forwards
Tommy Fleetwood has a considerable lead at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings as we enter the Finals. The Englishman is almost 1,000,000 points clear of Sergio Garcia and with the Spaniard not present in Turkey this week, Fleetwood will be looking to ram home his advantage.
Fleetwood finished a respectable 22nd at this venue in 2016 but he arrives in much better form this time around. In fact, Fleetwood ranks first on the European Tour for greens hit in regulation. As we’ve seen that’s a key statistic for this track so if it is somewhat surprising to see Fleetwood as big as 20/1 with Ladbrokes.
Lowry Ready for Another Big Win
Shane Lowry was one of a number of top quality players who shunned the opportunity to play in Turkey last season. Whatever his reservations were 12 months ago, he’s put them to one side and heads to Antalya in decent form. His last six starts have produced three finishes of 12th or better. That bodes well for a player with Lowry’s quality of ball striking and rock solid short game. If he gets to grips with the greens this week, Lowry will represent a real danger so back him each way at 30/1 with Bet365.
Johnston Worth Chancing at a Big Price
After breaking through last year, this has been a frustrating season for Andrew Johnston. Beef has struggled to cope with the demands of playing golf on two tours while injury has further set him back. But, he remains an excellent shot maker who, like Lowry, could challenge the leaders if he putts well at 100/1 with Betfred.