Turkish Airlines Open Preview & Tips8 min read
The Turkish Airlines Open gets underway this week with three events left until the Race to Dubai is completed. Only the top 60 players will advance to next week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
This Rolex Series tournament moves back to the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course for the first time since 2015 and birdies will be plentiful in ideal conditions. The 7,133-yard par-72 tree-lined track will offer up extremely low scores with five par fives. It also has five par threes but taking advantage of the longer holes will be essential to getting into contention.
Justin Rose is aiming to win this title for the third successive year although both of his victories came at a different course. Rose is the 15/2 favourite but the Englishman has struggled for consistency lately, failing to record a top five since the US Open in June.
Li can go low in Turkey
Haotong Li has come extremely close to winning in Turkey and the talented Chinese golfer can finally close the deal this week. Li tied for second in the Turkish Airlines Open in 2016 and was desperately unlucky to fall short 12 months ago after finishing runner-up to Rose. Li competed at the course as a 20-year-old rookie in 2015 and can expect to improve significantly on 26th place this year as a much-improved player.
Li opened up with a 64 last week at the WGC HSBC Champions, on his way to finishing 24th, suggesting he is close to finding top gear in Turkey. The 24-year-old is at his best in a birdie fest with his two European Tour titles requiring 22-under-par or lower for victory.
Li has the power and touch on the greens to shoot the low numbers required in Antalya. He is ranked fifth this season for birdie average, second for strokes gained off the tee and ninth for par five scoring. Li is backed to contend again in Turkey at 28/1 each way.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout has made a big impression this season on the European Tour and has the game to feature prominently this weekend. The sweet-swinging South African clinched his first victory with an exceptional performance at Valderrama in June.
He has not slowed up since though and produced another strong showing at tree-lined Wentworth with third place in a high-class BMW PGA Championship field in September.
Bezuidenhout made an encouraging debut at the HSBC Champions last week and significantly was fifth for putting average, as he finished in a tie for 17th.
The 25-year-old is steadily improving and looks capable of competing in this company. Bezuidenhout ranks tenth this season for putts per round and third for strokes gained around the green. With his putter firing, Bezuidenhout looks a likely contender in Turkey at 33/1.
Perez poised to challenge for second title
Victor Perez recently claimed his maiden European Tour title and the powerful French golfer could be in the mix for another win this week.
Perez is capable of extremely low scoring, as he proved with his victory in September at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, shooting 22-under-par. There has been no hangover since the win either with a top 20 at the Open de France followed by an excellent fourth on Sunday at the HSBC Champions, where he led the field in par five scoring.
Perez’s performance in China has taken him to just outside the top 50 in the world rankings and he will have his sights set on securing a place in all the majors for next season. The 27-year-old is particularly well suited to low scoring tournaments and should be able to take full advantage of the extra par five in Turkey this week.
Victor Dubuisson has won twice at this course and compatriot Perez looks capable of following in his footsteps at 40/1 each way.
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) September 29, 2019
Adri Arnaus has been threatening a first European Tour title throughout this season and the Spaniard could make the breakthrough this week in Turkey.
Arnaus has already finished runner-up three times this year and it seems only a matter of time before he lifts silverware. Blessed with effortless power in the mould of Jon Rahm, he was second at the Kenya Open, Andalucia Masters and the Czech Masters.
Arnaus also contended at the Open de Espana, with a tie for fourth at his home tournament last month. The 25-year-old seems to flourish at this time of year with Arnaus winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final exactly 12 months ago. He also won the Alps Tour Grand Final in October two years ago.
He appears to be in a good place mentally and his ability should lead to multiple titles during his career. Ranked fifth on tour for greens in regulation, Arnaus can deliver another big performance at 45/1.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 4, 2019
Guido Migliozzi has been one of the breakthrough stars of the season with the Italian ace landing two wins in his first year on the European Tour.
Migliozzi has proved a master of tree-lined courses with a win at the Kenya Open followed by success at the Belgian Knockout at the start of this summer.
A prolific winner on the Alps Tour, the 22-year-old has already shown an invaluable ability to close the deal in contention.
Migliozzi struck the ball with real authority during his last start at the Portugal Masters, closing with a 65 for 14th place. He ranked fourth for greens in regulation and second for par five scoring, with only a cold putter preventing him from getting into contention.
Migliozzi, who is ranked sixth for strokes gained tee to green this year, can threaten the each way places at a generous 100/1.
Haotong Li Each Way
Christiaan Bezuidenhout Each Way
Victor Perez Each Way
Adri Arnaus Each Way
Guido Migliozzi Each Way