The European tour Finals Series gets under way this week with the first of three high quality events. The Turkish Airlines Open has always been part of this ending run towards Europe’s best golfer being crowned champion of the Race to Dubai. It has, therefore, always guartanteed a stellar field but the deterioration of the security situation in Turkey means a number of the biggest names like Rory McIlroy are not in attendance.
Each of the last three renewals of the Turkish Airlines Open have been held around the Montgomerie course at Maxx Royal. It’s all change this year as the event heads to Antalya and the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. As a resort course, there is a chance that the European Tour’s leading lights will be able to go very low. However, we’ve got very limited course form to go on so there’s a little bit of guesswork required.
Carya Golf Club is modelled on traditional English courses like Walton Heath and Sunningdale. Known as Turkey’s first heathland course, the par 71 layout measures 7,127 yards and looks to be much more about tactics and accuracy compared to the Montgomerie where brute strength was a major plus. The course has some huge greens with vicious slopes creating what the European Tour describe as “greens within greens”. Therefore, expect the best shot makers to rise towards the top of the leaderboard as only high quality approach play will yield birdie chances.
Sullivan the Man to Beat
Andy Sullivan knows how to peak in time for the Final Series. He finished second in the DP World Tour Championship last year and looks ready for another crack at the Race to Dubai rankings. The Englishman clearly didn’t have his best stuff for the Ryder Cup but last time out in the Portugal Masters he finished second having ranked first in terms of both fairways and greens hit. Those sort of stats will be very helpful around Carya so make sure to back Sullivan at odds of 14/1 with Coral.
Lahiri to Bounce Back from Disappointment
A number of players have been given an unexpected place in the Turkish Airlines Open due to the high number of withdrawals. They’ll all be hoping to pick up as many ranking points as possible to grab a place in the top 60 for the DP World Tour Championship.
One of those who could really capitalise is Anirban Lahiri. The Indian number one nearly claimed a huge win on the PGA Tour at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last time out. He’d love to have his final round back again but he is repeatedly proving himself amongst high class fields. His patient game looks a good fit for Carya and an each way bet on Lahiri at 25/1 with BetVictor could pay off.
Bland to Continue Strong Form
Richard Bland loved his first appearance at a WGC event at the tender age of 43. The Englishman is in the form of his life but he’s still not managed to claim that illusive maiden European Tour win. He’s getting closer though. Bland should stand up well to the challenge of Carya and is worth chancing each way at 33/1 with BetVictor.